As 19-year-old Kaylee Kimber kicked her first AFLW goal on Friday night Metricon Stadium, it’s fair to say the only person more excited than the Moranbah teenager was her locker buddy Viv Saad.
Sat next to each other at #38 & #39, the more experienced Saad has been a guiding presence during Kimber’s young career – a young career that reached new heights against the Blues on Friday night.
“She was a bit nervous but I gave her a bit of pep talk and just said ‘take your opportunities, you don’t know when they’re going to come’,” Saad said.
Saad, despite being the better part of 150m away, couldn’t contain her excitement as the second-gamer slotted her maiden goal partway during the third term.
“When I saw her kick that goal, even been on the last line of defence, I just thought I’ve got to get all the way up there to tell her how proud I am of her,” Saad added.
“She grasped her opportunity with both hands, which is even more impressive at such a young age.”
Kimber is the latest SUN to be handed an AFLW debut by Head Coach Cameron Joyce, making it six in total during Season Seven.
Added to the SUNS list as an injury replacement player for off-season recruit & fellow North Queensland local Alana Gee, Kimber says there had been a lot of work on and off the field leading up to her first game.
“(There was a lot of) putting in extra work outside of footy. My parents told me ‘you moved here for a reason’, you’re here to put in the work, so I did a lot of that outside of footy and mentally I knew that I wanted to get here,” Kimber said.
“I started to read books actually, on how to be able to mentally do it. Atomic Habits it was, all about how to get into good habits and out of the bad ones – it’s a good book, that’s what got me here.
“From last year to this year, there’s been a lot of change – good change though. Kicking my first goal make it feels like that hard work has paid off.”
Both Saad & Kimber will be looking to play their part this Sunday with plenty on the line as the SUNS meet the Giants in Sydney.
The SUNS’ finals aspirations rest on a win, as well as a Carlton victory against the Western Bulldogs, but the mindset is staying squarely focused on controlling when they can control.
“Joycey has made it clear that we want to finish the season strong, regardless of the results that we need to go our way in terms of finals,” Saad added.
“The message is finish strong, get that sixth win and go from there.
“The whole group want to play finals, that’s what we’re here for. We just need to go out, capitalise on the opportunity we have against GWS – they’re not just going to give it to us, we need to play our brand of football.
“And then hopefully other results work in our favour.”