The Gold Coast SUNS are pleased to confirm that SUNS Academy graduate Lauren Bella has signed with the club ahead of its inaugural AFLW season.

Bella spent her junior years representing the SUNS and AFLW Academy, and was also selected in the Under 18 All Australian side two years in row.

“I’ve grown up in the SUNS Academy, so it’s really exciting to be coming home,” Bella said.

“The SUNS Academy helped me to get to where I am today.

“I’ve always grown up wanting to play football, it’s my passion, I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember.”

Bella is originally from Sarina in Mackay but has moved to the Gold Coast to pursue her football.

The SUNS have a strong partnership with the Mackay region over a number of years, something Bella said she wanted to help continue to foster and grow.

“I’m really big with cultural aspects of clubs and trying to promote football with the younger generations," Bella said.

“To be able to work with kids and promote the game amongst the next generation especially in my home town, is a fantastic opportunity.

“The AFLW is a great competition, being able to look up at role models, who I’ve looked up to for so long and now I get to play with and against them.”

Bella, 18, played three games for the Brisbane Lions in 2019, after being selected with Pick 45 in the 2018 NAB AFLW Draft.

The Gold Coast SUNS will play a Queensland Women's Winter Series game in Mackay in 2019, followed by one AFLW Premiership match for the next three years.