Isabella Kotatis - the Humble Hornet
Updated: Sep 10, 2020
'Just to enjoy everything and take it all in. Believe in yourself that you can achieve a lot of things and it will come if you have the right mindset.'
Isabella Kotatis has had no shortage of experience, with this young-gun first strapping on the footy boots when she was just five years of age—and just like many others, her footballing journey began with AusKick.
However, for those who would assume that this promising Queensland product began her football journey in the sunshine state—they would in fact be off by a couple thousand kilometers because Isabella’s journey actually begins at the Edwardstown Football Club in South Australia.
She began playing U13s football at the earlier mentioned Edwardstown Football Club back in 2013, before moving to the Kenilworth Football Club for the following season. 2014 would also prove to her last year of footy in the festival state, as she would make the move Brisbane that same year.
Going from a major football state to a rugby state—2014 would also mark the last time we would see Isabella play footy for quite a while, or four years to be exact.
During this four-year span she played a range of different sports, some of which would prove to be very beneficial when she would make her long awaited return to football.
‘I played club netball for a year then I just did some school sport which consisted of touch football, netball, Oztag then start playing rugby union 7s.’
She eventually began playing football for her school as well, however the ‘The AFL at school did not start until 2017’. But even with Isabelle back in the footy boots, she still played and in fact still does play rugby for her school.
‘… but since year 12 has been on and off from COVID not many rugby games have been on, but it is hard to manage time for school rugby and for AFL. Most of my time has been dedicated to AFL.’
However, while it has been difficult to juggle the two sports, it is ‘Definitely handy having rugby skills as well as AFL skills’.
Then, after a considerably long departure from club level football, 2018 saw Isabelle join the U17s side at the North Lakes Eels—where she would go onto play in their Grand Final.
Considering how recently she had only resumed her footy career; it is remarkable to see how much she managed to achieve the following year in 2019. This is because, playing with the U17s at her new club the Redcliffe Tigers, she won their 2019 Best and Fairest, and also received their Players’ Player award and a spot in their Team of the Year.
With a performance such as this, 2019 also saw Isabella earn a spot in the North Brumbies representative team and a spot in the U18 Brisbane Lions Academy—with her experience with the Lions Academy being on of her favourite footy moments thus far.
‘… being able to experience how intense it is and working towards improving my skills and being a better player.’
Then her footballing journey entered a new chapter, because ‘this year I made the move to Aspley Hornets to play QAFLW’.
‘Playing in the QAFLW has been another one of my favourite moments as I am also getting to experience the level that is just under the AFLW. Playing and being surrounded around high-level players is challenging but exciting.’
But of course, going from U17s to QAFLW football has been a challenge—but she has certainly felt at home with the Hornets.
‘It was a very big step up from U17 and going straight into QAFLW, but I absolutely love it. It is good versing people at the same level as you and even versing some AFLW players. The club has been nothing but welcoming and supportive.’
But despite being on an extremely promising football journey, a journey that also spans two states—her favourite thing about the game is ‘Definitely making new friends along the way’.
This level of passion also helps explain how she managed to make an impact so fast after only just resuming her playing career two years prior.
But as well as her own skills and mindset, she would also like to give thanks to ‘My mum for always believing in me and knowing that I can do it’.
So, what is next for this promising and humble Hornet?
‘To be getting drafted by the end of the year and playing in the AFLW. If not, then keep trying and working hard until my goal is achieved and play some good footy.’
Keeping in mind how much her footy career rapidly excelled over just the past two years—which at the time, was also her first-time playing club level footy in four years, goes to show just how quickly she can develop.
So it is hard to imagine just what Isabella Kotatis’ footballing journey could look like in a few years’ time—but there is a good chance that we could see her representing the sunshine state at the top level, or even back in her home state with her beloved Port Adelaide.
But regardless of where she ends up, we are certain that she will remain the humble, happy, and dare we say talented player that she is today.
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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.