Former AFLW star Kirby Bentley is continuing to inspire the next generation of kids through her advocacy work for the Indigenous community.

A stand-out role model for Indigenous girls and women, the Noongar woman hails from Balardong, Minang, Wudjari, Koreng Country.

Bentley grew up in Mt Barker, in the south-west of WA, with her two younger sisters.

With a passion for sisterhood, Bentley, now through the Kirby Bentley Cup, is inspiring the younger generation of women through sport.

“The Kirby Bentley cup was established to give our young girls the opportunity to empower each other and to feel empowered through the game of AFLW,” Bentley told the National Indigenous Times.

“For me, it’s bringing all the sisters together to showcase their talents, unite friends and family and to enjoy something we all grew up watching.”

The Kirby Bentley cup is a 12-a-side round robin tournament for Indigenous girls aged 13 to 15-years-old.

“It makes me so proud that so many of our young girls want to play, and what’s even better is that we have the talent to change the way we play the AFLW,” Bentley said.

“I’ve always wanted our girls to succeed in whatever their choice of path, to have them play in the Kirby Bentley cup and to enjoy that, it is one of the best feelings.”

Bentley has been appointed the AFLW Bulldogs’ development coach for next year’s season. An opportunity, she told the National Indigenous Times, she is looking forward to.

“Coming into such an inclusive and respectful club has really reassured me that I’m in the right place,” she said.

“One of my goals is to create a pathway for our girls to be seen to close that gap of missed opportunities from both the clubs and our girls.”

“Because there’s some deadly spark out there and I want this country to see them.”

When asked what advice Ms Bentley has for younger girls wanting to follow in her footsteps and make it into the league, she said the main thing was commitment.

“You have to make the commitment,” she said.

“You have to make sacrifices and choose between eating well or eating out or drinking cool drink or drinking water, going to training and giving everything, asking questions, playing or training on players who challenge you or expose your weaknesses, because those things will make you the best teammate and will help you become a great player.

“Hard work and committing to being the best you can be, is so rewarding, not only for you as a player, but for your teammates, clubs and more importantly the pride you give your mob.”

The 2022 AFLW season has been pushed back to January, opposed to December as originally planned.

By Teisha Cloos