Kickstart Championships get underway

The inaugural National Female Indigenous Kickstart Championships kicked off on Monday, with Northern Territory and Victoria undefeated after Day One.

By Brendan Day 

The inaugural National Female Indigenous Kickstart Championships kicked off in Melbourne yesterday, with seven state and territorial representative sides competing. 

In the first game of the day, Queensland defeated the NSW/ACT side 5.8.38 to 2.2.14, though the form team so far has been the Northern Territory Thunder. The Thunder have demonstrated that they are the team to beat, coming up victorious against South Australia 14.9.93 to 0.1.1 in their first match before defeating Tasmania 16.3.99 to 1.1.7. 

Leashay Warburton, who led the Thunder with eight goals against Tasmania, believes the Championships provide a great opportunity for indigenous females who might not otherwise get the opportunity to play football. 

“I love it – when it’s the offseason, I don’t know what to do – I have to have a footy in my hand all the time,” Warburton said in an interview with The Age.

“From this experience, I hope to be a role model and teach younger kids back home how to play footy.”

The Championships run until Friday September 13, and are the basis for selection to compete in the National Female Youth Championships as part of the AFL Indigenous Female Youth team. The AFL’s Chris Johnson and Xavier Clarke will head the selection process.

Clarke, an Indigenous Programs Manager for the AFL, believes the sport is starting to develop amongst indigenous females. “Pathways for indigenous girls in football are wider than ever,” he told The Age.

“It’s something that we traditionally haven’t tapped into, but we’re starting to now.

“Female Kickstart is the start of that.”

Clarke, a retired veteran of 106 games through his career with St Kilda and Brisbane, believes the Championships serve as an opportunity for much more than the promotion of football.

“We’ve got games, but we’ve also got education sessions in terms of identity sessions and career pathway programs,” Clarke said.

“It’s not just a talent program – we provide social tools so that when they go back home to their communities, they can be great female leaders in their own right.

“It’s a great initiative and something we’ll look to grow in the future”

Day 1 Results:
Game 1 – Queensland (5.8.38) defeated NSW/ACT (22.14)
Game 2 – Northern Territory (14.9.93) defeated South Australia (0.1.1)
Game 3 – Western Australia (9.7.61) defeated Tasmania (0.0.0)
Game 4 – Victoria (4.3.27) defeated Queensland (3.3.21)
ame 5 – Northern Territory (16.3.99) defeated Tasmania (1.1.7)
Game 6 – Victoria (6.2.38) defeated Western Australia (3.4.22)

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