Brisbane Lion shares her regional pride
AFL: With the sun setting against the classic Australian backdrop of the North Burnett on a winter afternoon, there was no better way for Gayndah kids to finish their Thursday than being outside, playing a game of AFL with friends.
And it was made into a story to tell the grandchildren when an inaugural marquee player for the AFL women's competition turned up to join the fun.
Brisbane Lions player Sabrina Frederick-Traub said she loved seeing so many young girls on the field at Gayndah State School.
"Especially because when I was playing at their age there was hardly any girls playing alongside the boys,” Frederick-Traub said.
"It's exciting now to have female teams at football clubs and female-only clubs across the state and I can't wait for it to grow and grow.”
Thursday afternoon marked the inaugural under-12 and under-15 mixed North Burnett match play program.
Frederick-Traub said it's important for AFL Queensland to visit regional communities because she knew from her own experience that they don't get the same opportunities that metro areas did.
"I grew up in, I guess, country Perth and I only had a couple of exposures to footy growing up and I know how much that impacts the kids as it did in my experience,” Frederick-Traub said.
"Having the players come out makes you feel like you actually belong and are known and it's one of the best feelings in the world.”
AFL Wide Bay regional manager Dayne Frew agrees with that sentiment.
"It's always important to bring high-level athletes out to these communities so that they have someone to look up to but also because the kids may not be aware of a certain pathway that exists, that's why we wanted to have an AFL program here,” he said.
"To have Sabs come out to here, and to have such a great turn out of girls, just shows that there is a possible pathway in AFL and they could play AFL professionally.”
A trailblazer for women in professional AFL, Frederick-Traub said young women should not feel discouraged to play a predominantly male-dominated sport.
"Just have a go because it's very different once you get to girls playing girls.
"It's a completely different game and you're not comparing the two, which are very different.”
AFL mixed match play will be held fortnightly at Gayndah State School from 4pm on Thursday afternoons.
"Give it your all because at the end of the day that's all that matters,” Frederick-Traub said.
For more information contact Dayne Frew at firstname.lastname@example.org.