Lael Kassem – our AFL Sporty Sista

Lael Kassem – our August Sporty Sista
Our #SportySista for August is AFL superstar, Lael Kassem (@lael.kassem). This month, we learn about what inspires her to make her move each week for the Auburn Giants AFL team.
“I love that every player has a role to contribute to depending on their strengths. It means AFL is inclusive of all body types, as some are better for sprinting and others are better at tackling. Personally, I love the physicality of the game. It keeps you on your toes as you don’t know where the next tackle is coming from. I love running and sprinting. Aussie Rules gives me the opportunity to showcase my talent, especially on bigger fields.”

When Lael first started

“I was excited to play because I followed the game and watched my brothers play. There was never an opportunity for me to play until 2011 when I cofounded the Auburn Tigers, the first Western Sydney Women’s AFL team. 
At the time, all my team mates, except for the Captain (Kiz) and I, didn’t understand the rules – so we had to teach them. The team relied on my leadership and I was passionate about making sure they enjoyed it.
I spent a lot of time working on my mental toughness and the resilience of the team. Champion athletes and champion teams find a way to deal with obstacles and come out stronger and better. In our first season, we engraved the quote “football doesn’t build character, it reveals it” onto the player medals. This was our mindset approaching all barriers we experienced on and off the field.”

Lael’s top tips:

  • Don’t set limitations on what you can do.
  • If it scares you then it means you should do it.
  • Don’t wait for others, be the first and go for it.
  • It’s okay if you don’t know the rules, all the girls on my team that started didn’t know the rules, and never even watched a game before.

Career highlights

“The girls. Friendships. Memories.

I don’t define my success or highlights by on field success. I think sport plays a bigger role in an athlete’s life off the field. For me, it has allowed me to grow in strides – taught me discipline, resilience and leadership skills. It has been an incredible journey, with many achievements, milestones and experiences that will stay with me forever. At the moment, my main highlight is still to come. I am chasing a big dream to make the AFLW, until then – helping my team, the Auburn Giants win a premiership.”

What’s next for Lael?

“I’ll keep working hard, putting my best foot forward in striving for selection in the AFLW. You never know what can happen.

I’m also currently coaching our under 18s girls, so coaching might be another possibility for me in the future.

The final avenue I might explore is in research, as I’m currently completing my PhD in perceptual cognitive skills and decision making for the GWS Giants."

Feeling inspired?

There’s a sport or physical activity out there for everyone. View activities to find your calling. 

#GirlsMove #GirlsMakeYourMove @lael.kassem 

Page last updated: 01 Aug 2018