Britt Tully - the Capital's Giant
"I would probably say to make sure they appreciate the good times that footy brings. I have always been very worried about what’s coming next and struggled to take in what’s just happened. The process will likely not be easy or simple, but it will be worth it."
Originally selected with pick number 80 during the inaugural 2016 AFL Women’s Draft, Britt Tully has gone onto play 21 games in the orange and charcoal—but it has been in Canberra where she has truly shined. Britt is a five-time AFL Canberra Women’s Team of the Year member and a five-time ACT Representative, yet this far from where her sporting career was originally heading.
She first began playing football when she was 16 years of age and she played a few games with the Ainslie Football Club, but her football journey was put on hold as she began focusing her ambitions on softball.
One can certainly not blame her for her softball ambitions, especially considering she had played it since she was just 4 years old and it was always her “dream to go to the Olympics”.
And as it would also become clear in her footballing journey, Britt seems to find success at any sport she is passionate about—and softball was no exception.
Throughout her softball career, she played in the national tournaments from the U16s level and started playing Opens when she was just 14 years old. She was also a member of the ACT Academy of Sport, yet this unfortunately short-lived as softball was taken out of the Olympics and thus the program was cut.
“So, when that happened I turned back to AFL, which I had always grown up playing at the oval with dad, but not in any teams.”
“Softball took me all over the Australia and the world which I am super grateful for and I have been able to meet and play with many amazing people.
“It’s on the total opposite side to AFL though, where it is such a mental resilience game, whereas football I can just relax and go play what I have trained to do.”
While her softball dreams had to be pushed aside, she thankfully re-found her love of football.
"… A friend was playing at Gungahlin Jets, so I went along and haven't stopped since.”
“Footy brings you something different every game and every training. It allows you to build relationships with people through a common connection and journey. Football is also fun and when you win it is even better.”
2020 marks her tenth year of football, but she began finding success within football pretty early on into her journey—with 2013 perhaps being the best indication of what was instore for the talented Giant.
This is because she claimed the Gungahlin Jets’ Best and Fairest, represented the Australian Capital Territory, and was named in 2013 AFL Canberra Women’s Team of the year. This would set the tone for her over the next several years as she would once again win the Jets’ Best and Fairest in 2015, 2017 and 2018.
Likewise, she would get to don the colours of the ACT on three more occasions, in 2014, 2015 and 2017—the latter of which she was named as Captain.
Following on with this theme, she would once again make the AFL Canberra Women’s Team of Year in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018—with 2017 also seeing her earn the Captaincy of the team.
While she was certainly finding consistent success at state level, it was 2016 where she took the next step as she was selected with pick 80 by the GWS Giants during the inaugural 2016 AFL Women’s Draft.
Her first appearance in the orange and charcoal came with a Round One debut during the inaugural AFL Women’s season in 2017, and she has since gone onto play 21 games with the Giants which she says has “been a journey to say the least”.
“The first year was super new and different, but as the years have gone on relationships have developed stronger and some of the girls are now my best friends.”
“In terms of football, it has now become such an elite environment where you have to be on your game each training and session to keep up.
“But every opportunity I get, to me feels like such a privilege and each have been different and memorable in their own ways and I wouldn't change a thing about the way it has gone.”
Even to this day, she says that “being able to play four seasons of AFLW with an amazing club and people” has been one of her favourite moments of her football journey.
While 2016 saw her take her footballing journey to the next level, it also topped off a stellar season at state level as she claimed the 2016 Mary Ann Bainrot Medal for being the best and fairest in the AFL Canberra Women’s competition.
This is a feat she would continue for following two seasons with her third Mary Ann Bainrot Medal coming in 2018, which completed an outstanding hattrick.
2016 also marked one of several occasions that she would don the colours of the NSW/ACT Rams. But this took a backseat to one of her favourite footballing moments thus far which was the 2016 Premiership where they “came from fourth to win it".
Then in 2017, Britt further reinforced her place in ACT football history as she was named in the AFL Canberra Women’s Team of the Decade. Following this, she was then a part of the 2018 GWS Southern Representative team that played in the winter series.
Last year then came with a colour change, and she returned to where it all began as she “moved back to Ainslie in 2019 to pursue coaching and further playing opportunities”.
However, while the colours changed the accolades still followed as she was awarded with the 2019 Ainslie Best and Fairest.
But despite the impressive number of accolades that have come during her passion-driven journey, this was certainly not where she expected her football career to end up.
“I am so competitive that I wanted to get as high as I could, but at that stage it just consisted of some Canberra versus Sydney games and some NSW/ACT games.”
“I feel like I got lucky being in the first year of the program when there was only seven teams and minimal girls involved but everything kind of fell into place at the same time and I just graduated uni so it felt right but. But that made me really want to get better and strive to make sure I stay in the side.”
With a career that includes several Best and Fairests and Team of the Year appearances, there is one other accolade that she really wishes she had more of.
“I think I have had a lot of individual success, but only really having one premiership I would switch that for individual success any day.”
“It means a lot to me and my family to have won the Best and Fairest award, but it’s also my team mates to thank. I have had some pretty good rocks, Rhi Metcalfe and more, to hit it to me in my time.”
Similar to her talent, gratitude is also something that Britt is certainly not short of because even after a decade of playing football and countless accolades—she still holds praise for those who have helped her along her remarkable journey.
“My family and dad in particular have always been my training buddy. My partner Liz has supported me to go up and down from Sydney for years.”
“Coaches and teammates have had a huge impact on me, otherwise I wouldn't be here today.”
So, what is the next chapter for this Giant from the Capital?
“I would love to say an injury free season where I can just focus on playing the best football I can.”
“But in a real world it is probably just trying to achieve greatness while getting through the ups and downs together with giants and the squad we have and then also doing the same back home with Ainslie.
“I think with both of the teams I am in this is our prime time and we need to take advantage of it.”
From softball to football, Britt Tully has had an amazing sporting career—and at this rate she will surely go down in ACT sporting history, but first we hope that she can add some more premiership medallions to her impressive collection of accolades.
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None of these photographs are owned by MWM; all images have been supplied by the player and have been personally shot.