Young Vipers find their venom

SPORTING DREAMS: Mackenzie Brinin (centre left), 14, has loved every minute of Aussie Rules football since she made the move.
SPORTING DREAMS: Mackenzie Brinin (centre left), 14, has loved every minute of Aussie Rules football since she made the move. Contributed

AUSSIE RULES: Mackenzie Brinin, 14, is the perfect example of a young girl realising her sporting dreams thanks to Narangba Valley State High School's Aussie rules Viper Academy.

For years, Mackenzie played netball, but always knew her legs were made for the wide-open expanses of the round oval and the free-flowing style of play Aussie rules offers.

The now seven-year-old high school program was responsible for helping her and the 150 other students involved get that opportunity.

"She would always come off the (netball) court frustrated ... I'd tell her she'd had a good game and she'd say, 'no I didn't',” Mackenzie's mum Karen said.

"When she started playing football, all those frustrations went away and all those skills she had, she brought to football and just creamed it.

"(She and the other girls) were coming off laughing and smiling and having the time of their life.

"It wasn't until I watched her play football that I knew what she was missing.”

Although the family grew up in a rugby league-dominated state, her roots actually date back to her grandmother playing Aussie rules in Broken Hill when she was just a teenager.

Mackenzie went on to play rep footy in her first year and the Vipers Academy has three teams playing in next month's AFLQ Schools of Excellence competition finals.

Narangba was a founding member of the competition when it was just eight teams strong, but for the past two years has been played between 130 schools across the state.

Mackenzie's success prompted Karen to work with Vipers coach Scott Gregory and the Narangba Crows Football Club to create and under-14 and under-16s team.

"Being in AFL is like a breath of fresh air,” Karen said.

"The culture is beautiful.”

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Woman 'ran for life' as partner tried to 'set' her on 'fire'

Peter Mark Wright is accused of a long list of violent acts against a young mother-of-five.

Partner allegedly doused her in petrol and tried to set her on fire

Teen, 14 comes up with idea to brighten up Coast hospital

Rosemaree Maynard,14, helping out with a Christmas toy run.

Coast teen finds a way to put smiles on sick children's faces

VOTING EARLY? Where to find your closest pre-polling station

Ballot to decide the order the candidates will appear in the 2016 council Election. The candidates numbers are put into envelopes and then the ballot box. Photo Mike Richards / The Observer

Where you can vote if you want to avoid election day crowds.

Local Partners