[supplied by NIAA]
Deadly Sista Girlz mentors leading by example
The Women’s AFL season kicked off a couple of weeks ago and included a new team, the West Coast Eagles.
In that team are Cassie Davidson, Emily McGuire, Alicia Janz and Imahra Cameron, all of them mentors for Deadly Sista Girlz (DSG), a program run by Wirrpanda Foundation.
DSG uses ‘strong female role models to empower and enable young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls to make informed decisions about their personal health and wellbeing to lead a positive and healthy lifestyle’.
Emily (21) is a Ballardong-Noongar woman originally from Northam, WA but now living in Perth.
She said she was overwhelmed when selected for the Eagles but felt all the hard work had paid off.
‘When the first Eagles academy started, I was training nearly every night with them and Swans and then I was doing at least 1 extra bike session a week plus playing a game on the weekend.’
Alicia Janz, a Merrium Mer woman, her family from Erub and Mer islands in the Torres Strait was also selected by the Eagles but is unable to play this season.
‘I recently had two knee surgeries within 3 months of each other,’ Alicia said.
‘My focus for this year is to follow my rehab program and giving myself 12 months to get my body where it needs to be to compete in the 2021 season, having had 3 knee surgeries within 2 years of each other.’
Playing sport at the highest level is no mean feat. It requires great mental, emotional and physical effort; effort that has the power to change a person.
‘I try to think before I do everything and if it’ll make me a better athlete or not. My body is fatigued and sore everyday so it’s important that I keep my mind right and positive in everything I do,’ Emily said.
The lessons that come from hard work, goal setting and playing in the AFLW will form messages and stories that Cassie, Alicia, Emily and Imahra will pass to the young women in their charge at Deadly Sista Girlz.
Cassie, a Balardung, Goreng, Minang woman from south of Perth, has played mainly in the backline over her football career.
‘Sport is a massive influencer for making informed decisions, eating healthy and just living a healthy lifestyle in general,’ Cassie said.
‘So to be able to say I play at an elite level where I’m living and breathing that healthy lifestyle on a daily basis I think puts me in good stead to be able to demonstrate that aspect of the game in a way that the girls can incorporate into their everyday life also.”
Cassie, Alicia, Emily and Imahra are the first to recognise that the goals they kick for the Eagles will excite the crowd for a moment but the goals kicked by their young charges will affect their whole life.
‘Go the eaGALS,’ Cassie said.
From Left: Cassie Davidson, Alicia Janz, Emily McGuire and Imahra Cameron
(Photo courtesy of Deadly Sista Girlz)
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