MORE THAN JUST FOOTBALL: WOOMERAS COACH HELPING HER 'LITTLE SISTERS' BLAZE A NEW TRAIL
Courtesy Sarah Olle: afl.com.au
JORDY Mifsud is a busy woman.
Between her work as a policy advisor for the Business Council of Australia and her best and fairest season for Hawthorn’s VFLW team, Mifsud also finds time to nurture the next generation of Indigenous women as the coach of the Woomeras.
It’s a responsibility not lost on the 25-year-old.
“Young Indigenous kids grow up facing a lot of adversity and disadvantage compared to a lot of other kids out there,” Mifsud says.
“Now being in my mid-twenties, I see it as a really good opportunity to help guide these young girls and be a role model that, I guess, I didn’t really have.”
Mifsud – a proud Peek Whurrong woman – is an alumni of the Woomeras, an all-Indigenous team comprised of the best under-15 talent from around the country.
Now, she’s leading the talented line-up.
“We bring them together, usually for a week-long program, where we do cultural activities and work on personal development, as well as football,” Mifsud says.
“Football is what brings us all together, but we want to make sure the girls get more than that from the program.”
Mifsud is determined to lead through example. She wants the Woomeras to realise their potential and dream big.
“I’d say about 80 per cent of the girls I played with in the Woomeras all fell pregnant before 21,” Mifsud says.
“They don’t have a career and have fallen into that cycle of babies having babies, and the economic disadvantages that come with that.
“It isn’t a bad thing for everyone.
“But I think there’s more to life than a lot of these girls realise.
“I want them to know they can make it, while still being strong to culture. That’s what I hope to pass on to the girls.”
The Woomeras all flew into Melbourne on Thursday, ahead of their match against the Medleys multicultural team on Sunday at Casey Fields in what will be a curtain raiser for the Demons and Lions.
“It’s Indigenous Round so that makes it extra special,” Mifsud says.
“All these girls are really passionate about footy and can see a clear pathway to playing AFLW.”
Still, only four per cent of the women’s league is Indigenous, making the Woomeras program even more important.
“It exposes the girls to high performance and strength and conditioning, which they wouldn’t necessarily get in their local team back home,” Mifsud says.
“I guess these kind of pathways are really important to help bridge the gap.”
Mifsud knows the talent at the junior levels is overwhelming when it comes to Indigenous girls, but they need adequate support to foster their development.
And at times, that can be challenging to identify.
“These girls sometimes come with a lot more baggage than their non-Indigenous counterparts,” she says.
“We need to resource them properly. Cultural support is really important as well.
“Just looking at the 25 we have in the Woomeras squad this year, the talent is insane.
“We have girls playing in boys’ leagues back home winning best and fairests.”
The passion in Mifsud’s voice is unwavering.
Her actions equally as so.
“I’m pretty connected to my culture through all the work I do, which makes it easy getting up every day and going to work, knowing I’m trying to make change for my people and future generations to come,” she said.
The Woomeras – whom Mifsud describes as “little sisters” – are in good hands.