Former Pinjarra local and Peel Thunderbirds star Sabrina Frederick-Traub is one of 16 marquee women’s AFL players spearheading the growth of female football in Australia.
Frederick-Traub was selected to the Brisbane Lions as a franchise player in July, and is thriving in her new role as an ambassador for women’s AFL.
“I’m in my fourth week here now and it’s still so surreal – my whole life has changed,” she said.
“It’s amazing to be a part of something growing so quickly.”
Frederick-Traub was named to the Lions after head coach Craig Starcevich showed a keen interest in the superstar key position player.
The ex-Thunderbird turned South Fremantle gun assumed she would be on her way to Fremantle for the inaugural women’s league tournament, but was left stunned when Starcevich contacted her offering a tour of the Lions’ facilities.
“I thought Freo would actually pick me up in the draft, so it was amazing to get the call from Craig and have him tell me that he wanted me as a marquee player,” she said.
“To be picked in the top 16 women’s players is huge, considering there are a bunch of great players out there now.”
After the announcement, Frederick-Traub packed up her life in WA and moved to the east coast, where she has taken up a role with AFL Queensland promoting the game.
She regularly attends and organises school clinics for up and coming youngsters and is on the forefront of developing future female talent in a non-football orientated state.
Frederick-Traub said it was a blessing to have the opportunity to impact young footballers’ lives.
“It’s absolutely amazing to be able to help young footballers, particularly female footballers, find their way in the sport,” she said.
“When I was playing footy as a kid I had to stop at the age of 13 so the opportunities they have now are really heartwarming.”
After she was forced out of her junior football career at the 13-years-old, Frederick-Traub was introduced to the Peel Thunderbirds by a substitute teacher at Pinjarra Primary School.
It was at the Thunderbirds that her AFL dream began. She quickly won the rising star award at the club and picked up a runner-up best and fairest along the way.
“At the time I had no idea that there was a women’s footy team in the area, so to find out I could keep playing was one of the happiest times of my life,” she said.
“Peel’s programs are immaculate, especially the youth girls. They are able to find so many young girls keen on playing football and that’s a fantastic achievement for the local level.”
After five years with the Thunderbirds, Frederick-Traub moved to South Fremantle in 2014, where she shone at the league level.
Her most recent game was spent representing the Melbourne Demons in the women’s all-star game for the final time.
The game produced a ratings smash and was the most popular Saturday night game for both men’s and women’s AFL all season.
Now, Frederick-Traub is chomping at the bit to get the season with Brisbane started.
“I’m already doing a pre-pre-season to make sure I’m ready to go when the competition starts,” she said.
“Victoria and WA tend to do pretty well in the women’s footy but I think we’ve got a good chance to give them a run for their money.”
The 2017 season starts in early February.