'It feels like I'm home': Lion returns two years after being delisted

MORE than two years after being delisted by Brisbane, Selina Priest has been redrafted by the same club and says returning to the Gabba feels "like home".

In an unusual set of circumstances, Priest - formerly Goodman - was squeezed out of the Lions' squad after the 2017 AFLW season, despite playing in the inaugural Grand Final loss to Adelaide. 

Following the setback, the 29-year-old said she fell out of love with the game. 

After a tough 18 months, the Gold Coast high school teacher did some soul-searching in late 2018 and reinvented herself as a running defender, completing an excellent season with QAFLW team Coolangatta. 

On Tuesday, the next stage of Priest's redemption story was inked when Brisbane used pick No.45 in the NAB AFLW Draft to give her another chance. 

"It feels like I'm home," Priest said. 

"It's where I'm meant to be. It's exciting but it feels natural. 

"It's been a difficult path, particularly mentally." 

In 2017 the 176cm Priest played as an undersized ruck, a decision in hindsight both her and coach Craig Starcevich believe was a little too much of an ask.

Selina Priest of the Lions in action during 2017. Picture: AFL Photos

She took the delisting hard. 

"The love of the game got taken away," she said.

"You start playing footy because you want to play with your friends and have a good time and then when it comes to being serious it was quite tough mentally. 

"I lost the love of the game after that, it was a bit heartbreaking getting delisted.

"The next couple of years I didn't really enjoy footy any more. 

"(But) after having that time away I realised I really do love it. 

"I took the pressure away from myself … I didn't take things as seriously and my performance lifted."

Selina Priest of the Lions in action during 2017. Picture: AFL Photos

As her play improved, Starcevich took note. While Priest was coaching an under-15 regional team at the state championships in the middle of the year, the pair broke the ice. 

"I was there walking around and I felt this presence behind me and I turned around and it was Craig," she recalled.

"I hadn't spoken to him for a very long time and we had a good chat about the past and he said 'I've been watching you play, you've been absolutely outstanding, what are the chances of you coming to play Winter Series for us? I understand if you'd say no'.

"I said I'd love to. 

"That conversation meant a lot to me. 

"It'd been a long time between chats. He apologised and said it was the wrong move (to play her at ruck and delist her).

"His apology and praise and acknowledgement was enough for me."

Starcevich describes Priest as a great athlete and a player Brisbane is happy to have back.

"It probably tells you something about her determination to go away from the club … find a way to improve herself and find a role for herself in a QAFLW team that suits has been super."