Main content

Gibson's golden opportunity

Crows sign Kellie Gibson Hear from new Crow Kellie Gibson who will be part of our women's team in 2017.
I found my passion in footy and I never looked back … I just fell in love with the game.
Kellie Gibson

Kellie Gibson could be on her way to Rio right now.

Instead, the 20-year-old is in her new home town of Adelaide after signing as one of the Club’s ‘marquee’ players for the inaugural national women’s football competition.

A gifted athlete, Gibson started out in track and field, where she was a promising sprinter.

At the age of 13, the West Australian took up football for a bit of fun and to help pass the winter months until athletics ramped up again.

“I’m naturally a sprinter, and that’s where I saw my career going,” Gibson said.

“Playing footy was pretty much just to keep myself fit in the track and field offseason.

“I didn’t quite make it to the Rio Olympics! I found my passion in footy and I never looked back … I just fell in love with the game.”

Gibson started out with the Ellenbrook Dockers Junior Football Club but by the age of 14 had progressed to playing senior football with WAFL club Swan Districts.

“I was playing against some pretty big women,” Gibson said.

“I would just try and run away from them! I was pretty small and quick, so I’d grab the ball and go.

“I took it as a challenge.”

Gibson was a natural.

The lightning-quick midfielder/forward earned three state representations in her first five years of football, and in 2012 was named in the Under-18 Youth Girls All Australian team.

Gibson was only 17-years-old when she was selected to play for the Western Bulldogs in the first-ever AFL women’s exhibition match in 2013.

“It was a great opportunity to play on the MCG,” she said of the match.

“I can’t thank the people enough who picked me up and believed in me.

“It all just kind of went from there.”

In that same year, Gibson tried her hand at another sport – Rugby Sevens.

What started out (once again) as a bit of fun quickly turned into national selection in the Women’s Youth Olympic Rugby Sevens team.

The adventurous teenager made history by scoring the first Rugby Sevens try at an Olympic event in the opening minute of Australia’s 33-0 win over Tunisia.

“One of my friends told me to come down to the Under-18s trials and have a kick and throw the ball around,” Gibson said.

“I got a call that night from the coach. He said, ‘You’ve made the team’ and I was like, ‘What?!’

“I just went down there to see what it was like, but he gave me the option to go along for the weekend and play in the Under-18s carnival. The Aussie coach convinced me to keep coming over from WA every month to train with the senior girls. I ended up getting into the Youth Olympics.

“A lot of it has happened just because I’ve taken opportunities as they’ve come. You’ve kind of got to do that when you’re in women’s sports. You can’t really turn any opportunities down.”

Despite excelling in Rugby Sevens, Gibson’s heart remained with Australian Football.

She capped off a big 2014 by winning the Under-18 State Championships with WA, and was drafted by the Bulldogs with the fifth pick overall for the 2015 AFL women’s exhibition game.

Gibson, or ‘Gibbo’ as she is known to her friends, was quick to put her hand up for consideration when the AFL announced the introduction of a national women’s competition in 2017.

“I thought, about bloody time!” she said with a laugh.

“It was very exciting. Straight away I said, ‘I want to be a part of it’. It didn’t really matter which club I was part of as long as I was in the initial squad.

“Growing up, I didn’t think I could do it as a career or play footy professionally. When I was younger it was just about kicking the ball around with my mates and having some fun.

“It wasn’t until 2013 that they got the Bulldogs and the Dees (exhibition game) up and going, and I actually had a chance of playing AFL as a semi-professional or professional sport.”

Gibson signed with the Adelaide-NT side along with Swan Districts teammate Chelsea Randall, and relocated to Adelaide to take up the role of Female Engagement Coordinator with the SANFL.

She’s also joined South Australian Women’s Football League powerhouse, Morphettville Park.

“It’s incredible to think that I’m the first or second person to sign for the Crows women’s team. I never thought it would ever happen. It’s very exciting,” she said.

“I’ve never lived out of home before. Coming from WA across the Nullarbor into Adelaide has been quite nerve-racking, but I’m loving every second I’m here.

“I just can’t wait to get started.”

A West Coast supporter and Josh Kennedy fan, Gibson leaves behind her parents and older brother in Perth.

Gibson joked her Dad would rather see her play in Crows colours than those of arch-rival Fremantle, who will also field a team in the national women’s league.

“My Dad’s supported the Eagles for I don’t know how long and I just jumped on the bandwagon. I guess I’ve got to trade clubs now,” she said.

“If my Dad had seen me running around in purple he’d probably tell me not to come home!”