In this week’s edition of Off The Pitch thanks to Soccer World, we catch up with one of the stars of Pine Hills’s Brisbane Women’s Premier League side who are finals bound in 2016. Learn more about Fern Doyle.
QSN: How were you introduced to the game and who was your main football influence?
FD: Through my family. I have three older brothers who all played football from a young age and my Dad coached for years as well. So I was taken to all the training and games most weeknights and weekends when we were younger. But being the only girl in a family full of boys, my Mum never let me play and I took up Highland Dancing from a young age instead.
After a lot of haggling, I played my first season when I was 10. My main football influence was my Dad. He took me to the local pitch every weekend when I was younger and taught me all the basics. He never let me use my size as an excuse for being pushed off the ball and just told me to “go in hard on the first tackle”. He even entertained a stint of me wanting to be a keeper (laughs).
QSN: Tell us about your football playing history.
FD: Having had to barter with my Mum to start playing, I played my first few seasons in Baptist Church League for Rivers Baptist because training was only once a week and it was close to home. I played in a mixed side until I was too old to play with the boys.
From there, I went to Pine Rivers United and played in the Women’s League for 2 years. After making a few friends through representative football, I moved to Albany Creek Excelsior for 2 seasons, which is where they were playing.
When I was 19, I had a year off football to train and compete in the World Highland Dancing Championships in Scotland. The following year, I came to Pine Hills FC where I now play in the Brisbane Women’s Premier League.
QSN: What opportunities has football given you?
FD: Competing in representative football from a young age gave me the opportunity to travel around Australia and make life-long friends from all over the country. Not only that, I had the opportunity to learn from some amazing coaches and play alongside quality players, all of whom I learnt so much from.
Combined with my achievements in Highland Dancing, football also gave me the opportunity to be awarded with an Elite Athlete Scholarship to University, from which I have been given the opportunity to meet and learn from some of our best Australian athletes.
QSN: How are you enjoying playing at Pine Hills?
FD: I absolutely love playing at Pine. It’s a great environment to play in and the club is really supportive of Women’s football. I play with a bunch of very talented girls and it’s been so good to play in a team which is developing and improving from season to season.
We’re all really good friends too and I think that’s what separates us from other teams at times during games. It’s a good feeling to know that your teammates have your back no matter what.
QSN: How does it feel to be top scorer for the team?
FD: I only started playing as a forward when I came to Pine, so scoring goals was a somewhat foreign feeling to me as someone who was always a supporting midfielder. In saying that, I appreciate how much hard work the team does to get the ball into our attacking half, so to be capitalising on those chances is a really good feeling. But those goals are all a product of the team’s hard work and I really don’t focus on who’s getting the goals, so long as we as a team are putting goals in the net when we should be, that’s what matters.
QSN: What were you and your team looking to achieve this season and do you feel you have achieved it?
FD: I think we were just looking to improve on our performances week in and week out and really looking to get some variety in attack, which I think we’ve definitely achieved. Consistency was probably another thing we were looking to improve and we’re sitting second on the ladder with one round to go, so I think we’ve definitely cemented ourselves as a strong team who shows up each week.
I think we want to go one better in finals this year as well and take it all the way to the grand final, so the coming weeks will reveal how we go with that one.
QSN: What are your greatest individual and team moments in football?
FD: My greatest individual moment would have to be being selected in the BWPL Team of the Year and being nominated for Player of Year last season.
One of our best team moments would have to be playing in finals last year, it’s always a great feeling to be playing finals football. Beating Peninsula Power convincingly last fortnight to grab second spot and secure a home final of some sort in our run into finals was a highlight this season.
QSN: How does your current coach Ben Fuhrmann compare to your previous coaches?
FD: Ben is probably one of the most passionate coaches I’ve ever had. The time and effort he puts into coaching us and his drive to get the BWPL more coverage is something I really admire.
He’s different to my previous coaches in that he really makes you feel accountable for what you do on the pitch, which is a good thing. It makes you want to try harder and rectify your mistakes. I don’t think I can shoot in a game anymore without hearing his voice in my head, saying “don’t kick it at the keeper”.
QSN: Who is the best player you have played with or against in your career?
FD: If I have to single out just one, I’d have to say Sarah Fuller. I first played with Sarah in representative football in school and it was awesome to play alongside her again at Pine.
Her skill, pace, ability to read the play and her famous nutmegs always keep the game interesting. It’s great to play with someone who can read what you’re going to do without you saying a word.
QSN: Do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
FD: I eat a banana on my way to all my games and always re-tie my shoes right before kick-off.
QSN: What do you do with yourself away from the football pitch?
FD: When I’m not playing football, you’ll usually find me studying. I’m a student at QUT in my fifth year of a dual degree in Law and Journalism. Aside from that, I work at a jewellers and love to travel at every opportunity I can.
QSN: If you weren’t a footballer, what other sport would you play?
FD: Despite my height, I loved playing volleyball throughout school, so I’d probably try to defy the odds and play that.
QSN: Time for 5 rapid fire questions! Your favourite drink, music, food, football idol and which football club do you support?
FD: Guava juice, John Mayer, steak with mushroom sauce and mashed potato, Steven Gerard, Brisbane Roar and Liverpool.
Thanks for taking time out to talk with us Fern and best wishes to you and your team during the finals series.
Fern’s Pine Hills host Easts in the final round of the Brisbane Women’s Premier League this weekend where a win would sew up second place on the ladder and secure a double chance during the finals series. Kickoff is 7pm Saturday night at James Drysdale Reserve.
Nationality – Australian
Age – 22
Nickname – Ferny
Height – 154cm
Preferred Position – Left or Right Forward
- Representative football
- BWPL Player of the Year Nomination
- BWPL Team of the Year Selection
- Finals Football at Pine Hills.