SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 28: Darcy Vescio and Lauren Brazzale of the Blues celebrates kicking a goal during the round 9 AFLW match between the GWS Giants and the Carlton Blues at Blacktown International Sportspark on March 28, 2021 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Carlton midfielder Lauren Brazzale has shared her journey in reaching the AFLW  system, having had to rekindle her love for the game after being told not to play football at an early age.

The 28-year-old first ignited her passion for football as most do, through Auskick in following in the footsteps of her siblings.

In a candid interview on the After the Siren podcast, she revealed her three older brothers were her main inspiration for starting junior football.

"Growing up I never had the dream to play AFL," Brazzale said.

"I have three older brothers so I grew up following whatever they did and they played football... So when I turned five I went to Auskick.

"When I was 12 I wasn't allowed to play anymore and it never really occurred to me why I wasn't allowed to play, because I was still taller than the boys and I could still run out with them."

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Lauren's story mirrors that of so many other AFLW players, with the lack of pathways for girls forcing her to choose a different sport.

She eventually found football again when she began her studies at RMIT University.

"In my PE course, there was a lot of girls at that Uni that did Uni Games, so the likes of Steph Chiocci, Lauren Morecroft, Shae Audley, Millie Barton, we almost had a dream team of AFLW players that ended up being drafted" Brazzale continued.

"I went across to Diamond Creek Football Club ... from then on I was just sort of in the right place at the right time when the draft came."

Lauren was selected by the Carlton Football Club with pick 62 in the inaugural AFLW draft in 2016 and has played 36 games across six seasons.

She expressed her gratitude for clubs like Diamond Creek, the Darebin Falcons, and Melbourne Uni.

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"They're the pioneers that were able to get women's footy to the standard that it is now and for girls to be able to dream to play AFLW," Brazzale said.

Round three of the 2022 AFLW season will see the league celebrate Pride Round, a highlight of the football calendar that is of great importance to Brazzale.

Lauren shared the significance that Pride Round holds within the Carlton playing group.

"Being a part of our fifth consecutive Pride match against the Bulldogs, I'm just really proud to be a part of it and just the inclusivity that AFLW brings to every community and every person is so amazing.

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"To be able to have this round now that is celebrated across the whole of AFLW is just absolutely incredible"

Lauren's Blues will face the Dogs this Sunday at Whitten Oval, with Carlton looking to secure their second win of the season after defeating Geelong in Round 2.

Brazzale is averaging 10.5 disposals and over 220 metres gained per match so far this season.