Lions win race to sign brilliant cross-code talent

BRISBANE has won a cross-code stoush to reclaim rugby sensation Courtney Hodder for the 2021 NAB AFL Women's season.

The prodigiously talented Hodder grew up in Western Australia, earning three under-18 All Australian selections. 

She switched to rugby and was an overnight sensation, scoring six tries in a single game for WA in the inaugural Super W season in 2018. 

Hodder then crossed the country with her family and made just as big an impact for the Queensland Reds, earning selection for Australia A last year. 

But her heart was always with the Sherrin. 

After breaking her leg in the 15-a-side code, Hodder realised she wanted to come back to Australian Football. 

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And Brisbane pounced, signing her as an other-sport rookie after her two years in the state and national elite rugby programs. 

"I'm super stoked to be back," Hodder said. 

"It's been playing on my mind for a little while now and was a matter of when I'd come back really, I was just waiting for the right moment. 

"Three weeks ago I touched base with (Brisbane coach) Craig (Starcevich) to tell him I was interested to get back involved and asked if it was possible to join and he quickly got back to me and here I am today. 

"I was pretty stoked and shocked it's happened so fast." 

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Hodder has lightning speed, is agile and a natural footballer. 

Despite being courted by the club she has supported since her youth, West Coast, the 20-year-old said her life was now on the east coast. 

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"My family is based in Brisbane now and this is time for me to create my own lifestyle and set up here. I'm happy," she said. 

Brisbane women's CEO Breeanna Brock said Brisbane was thrilled to receive the approval to bring Hodder back to the AFLW. 

"We tried last year to see if Courtney wanted to come to AFL but she had lots going on with her recovery and it wasn’t something she was really thinking about," Brock said. 

"A year on and here we are getting one of our most talented youngsters back to AFLW."