JESSE (they / them)

I have a chronic back pain which has effected me in different ways over my adult life. For a few years I wasn’t able to stand or walk without pain, let alone play sport. Sport is a huge part of my enjoyment of life and a huge part of who I am, so I’ve had to find a way to live with it. I could never have imagined playing such a physically rough game like AFL and I couldn’t have imagined how much I would love it, but being able to feels quite remarkable. I watched the Falcons grow since they started in 2021 and it got me really excited about joining because they were creating such an inclusive and positive culture that felt like the antithesis of the overarchingly blokey, misogynist, racist, boys club of AFLM. The Falcons really make it possible for me to be who I am and to do what I’m capable of.

TADPOLE (she / her)

The first AFLW games I cried every game because it was so huge. So with the Falcons, I’m like, here we go again, here comes all the emotion that’s built up my whole life. People saying “You can’t do that… You’re a girl, blah, blah, blah.” After being told what I could and couldn’t do for so many years, whether it was explicitly verbally told or just implied; These experiences I’ve had so often – gendered violence and lack of opportunities for women. At this point in my life, I’ve really just gone, “No, I’m worth doing these things.” I guess I feel like I’m taking my life back a bit and playing footy is part of it too. I’m not gonna be made to feel like this anymore. None of us should. And I want my daughters to see that. I’m 45 now and I’ve decided I’m just gonna keep myself as fit as I can and just keep going until I can’t. Until my body says nope. Because I’m just so in love with the Falcons. It’s our time now.

BRY (she / her)

This is my first time playing footy. This is also my first time playing sport since I was in an under 12’s basketball team. I’ve always had a strong sense of confidence in my body, but I never saw it as a sports body. I didn’t grow up seeing fat bodies playing sports. Definitely no media representation of fat women doing active things, joyful things with their bodies. I have had feelings that I’m not fast enough, not fit enough, but that feels like a growing, moving, changing thing and tearing this big body around a footy field just feels so good. There’s a fearlessness in my body that I don’t get to explore in other ways, so the physicality of the game is just magic to me. The smashing around, the tumbling along the ground, the hurtling into one another, there’s something really powerful and beautiful in that physicality.

MARIAM (she / her)

My life is completely different to the way I grew up in Ivory Coast. Although I try, I often struggle to reconcile some of the things I learned in my childhood with my current values shaped by living abroad for so long. There are just conflicting beliefs sometimes. In Ivory Coast you don’t hear much about Australia, let alone the AFL. So AFL was very foreign for me. The first session at the Falcons I went along not expecting anything. I just told myself go and have a look. I wasn’t even dressed to play to be honest. I had runners on and I came with my son who was 7 months old at the time. It was just interesting to see the stretches and all the warm up movements so I thought “Try something, say yes to something new.” I’ve told my brother that I’m playing AFL and he was pretty impressed. He found it really cool that I’m doing something Australian. Really Australian.