Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

AFL 'Empowering' Teens Female Footy Players Kicking Goals at Byron

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

AFL 'Empowering' Teens Female Footy Players Kicking Goals at Byron

Article excerpt

Byline: Alison Paterson alison.paterson@northernstar.com.au

WHEN it comes to footy, Kyamara Kelly is a passionate player who plays well above her diminutive frame.

Watching her dart about the field, Kyamara uses her size to her advantage as she deftly manoeuvres between opposition players.

The 13-year-old midfielder is the youngest on the AFL New South Wales-Australian Capital Territory Kickstart Team, which is one of seven indigenous teams participating in the 2017 Female Diversity Championships in Byron Bay this week.

As one of the Arawkwal people and part of the Bundjalung Nation, Kyamara said she was thrilled the indigenous teams were playing along with seven multicultural teams in the 14 team, 200-player event which has drawn athletes from all over the country.

"The diversity championships are a chance to represent your culture and your team and to meet new people," she said.

"I grew up in Ballina and Byron Bay and now I'm in Sydney at boarding school doing Year 8 at St Scholastica College in Glebe."

Kyamara said she came to love kicking and marking a Sherrin after trying some other sports.

"None of my family follow AFL so they were a bit surprised, but said to give it go," she said.

"I tried a lot of sports -- hockey, soccer, league and touch --and stopped at AFL when I realised 'yes, this is my game'. I enjoy it a lot more."

Despite the NSW-ACT going down to Western Australia on Wednesday, Kyamara remains positive about the event.

"We made Queensland fight for the ball," she said.

Now the youngster, who follows Greater Western Sydney, is looking to keep playing at the highest level she can.

"I'm the shortest player and I think one of the speediest," she said.

"I reckon it would be good and I'd be pretty lucky to have a career in AFL so I'm just enjoying playing at the moment. …

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