Shannon Campbell during the AFLW Grand Final between Brisbane and Melbourne at Brighton Homes Arena on November 27, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

ELEVEN months ago, inaugural Brisbane defender Shannon Campbell was named best on ground in the AFLW Grand Final, the first to win the medal in a losing side.

What was even more remarkable, however, was that she played through illness, ultimately unable to attend the post-match press conference typically expected of the winner.

"I was just feeling nauseous that day for some reason… the last five minutes of the game, I just felt really woozy," Campbell told

The game, played in 34-degree heat at the club's new home base of Brighton Homes Arena, was tough for the healthiest of players.

Campbell, advised post-game to head into the rooms to slow down and get cool, instead was determined to spend some time with the Brisbane fans who came out to support.


"Probably wasn't the best choice of things to do," Campbell admitted with a chuckle.

But it is her generous and relentless attitude that has made Campbell such a valuable Lion over the last seven years.

Always putting her body on the line with desperate defensive efforts and a willingness to move into various roles as needed has been a significant part of Brisbane's continued success.

"I've probably been lucky in a sense, that I haven't had serious injuries from the kamikaze style that I play," Campbell said.

"It's not something that I want to be known for, but I do throw my body around a fair bit … I do like to be courageous when I'm on the field and I like to step up in those moments where I have to put my body on the line, but there's been times where Craig (Starcevich) has told me to be careful, but at the end of the day, that's just the way I play."

Shannon Campbell and Daisy Pearce compete during the AFLW Grand Final between Brisbane and Melbourne at Brighton Homes Arena, November 27, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Despite playing such a physical style, Campbell has played 71 of a possible 75 games since debuting in round one, 2017. That run has included 10 finals, one of just eight players to play double-digit finals.

"The Lions have been my childhood team growing up, so I've barracked for them ever since I was three or four," Campbell said.

"So being able to be an inaugural member of the team and being able to build a culture under Bree (Brock), and Craig and 'Greenie' (Matt Green), who's our strength and conditioning coach who's been here from the start, to build a culture where people want to be here to win.

"We're always striving to be at the last game of the year, it makes everyone work so much harder."

Part of that success this year has required Campbell to work in different areas of the ground, particularly pressing forward to hit the scoreboard, something not totally foreign to the defender who kicked Brisbane's first ever AFLW goal back in 2017.


"In the back of my mind I've always thought that one day I'd probably play as a forward, but I think Dad's always been on me as well about trying to play forward," Campbell laughed.

"Dad's always been one to back me and say that I should approach Craig to go forward a little bit… I reckon Craig probably came to me more so than the other way around, but I've definitely been on his back for a while.

"It'd be like, 'Craig, if there's ever a chance to put me forward’, and last year there were a couple of times where Craig did put me forward for a couple of minutes and I managed to hit the scoreboard, so I keep on telling him that."

Campbell quickly follows up with the suggestion that if Starcevich were to be asked, the positional shift was all her idea, one he simply complied with.

"It's always a bit of a laugh. He always gives me a bit of a side eye when it's me trying to question whether or not I can go forward."


Before joining the Lions, Campbell spent time playing college soccer in America where she was also a defender, reading play unfolding ahead of her.

"I've always been a defender with all the sports that I've played so I guess that's just where I ended up adopting my position. But it's very exciting playing in the forward line, and I think you play the game very differently.

"But I think being a defender first, it's helped me with the defensive side of being a forward."

Whichever end of the ground Campbell ends up playing in Saturday evening's Grand Final rematch, she will be a big factor in Brisbane's fortunes as it looks to get one back on the reigning premiers, and prime for finals.