QAFLW's Zielke tribute, B&F medal named in her honour

HER NAME is synonymous with women's football in Queensland, and now Emma Zielke will have her named etched in the state's history books forever.

The QAFLW best-and-fairest award has been named in her honour and will now be called the Emma Zielke Medal.

Zielke was Brisbane's inaugural AFLW captain in 2017 and led the Lions to their first premiership earlier this year when they beat Adelaide to become champions.

She has a long history playing state league football and said it was an honour to have the medal named after her.

"It’s surreal," Zielke said. "I know the night I attend this year and they call it out I’ll probably be a little bit in shock to be honest.

"It’s going to be special to hear that every year someone’s name, the best and fairest player of the league, is going to be holding that (Emma Zielke) medal and I’m really thankful AFLQ even put my name forward."

Zielke has been a pioneer of women’s football ever since she arrived in Brisbane from her hometown of Bundaberg as a 19-year-old.

It was in 2007 at Morningside when she first picked up a Sherrin and fell in love with the game.

Emma Zielke in action during a Brisbane training session at Leyshon Park in 2020. Picture: Getty Images

In 2013, she put a call out on Facebook to establish a women’s team at Coorparoo – captaining the inaugural side and kicking a goal after the siren to win the SEQAFL premiership.

It would be the first of four premierships with the Kings.

"It’s been a huge journey; from the time I went down for my first session at Morningside to now," she said.

"I Iook at what the competition was when I first started to where it is now, and I am so proud of how far it’s come, and the role I’ve played in that.

Former QAFLW best and fairest winner Emily Bates, who is also Zielke’s partner and Lions teammate, said it was a fitting testament to Zielke’s leadership on and off the field.

Emma Zielke Captain and Emily Bates celebrate with the cup after winning the NAB AFLW Grand Final match between Adelaide and Brisbane at Adelaide Oval on April 17, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

"I am so proud of Emma, she’s done so much for Queensland football and she’s always been a massive leader. She’s always been someone I have looked up to, she’s someone that’s had a huge knowledge of the game, and she’s been able to create really good team culture in every team she’s been part of," Bates said.

The Emma Zielke Medal will be presented on September 12, alongside the J.A Grogan Medal.