The Rumbalara Football and Netball Club has become the first Aboriginal club in Victoria to compete in a women’s competitive football league.
The Rumbalara team played Shepparton in the new season of the MBCM Northern Country Women’s League on the weekend — and while they didn’t win, they did make history.
Rumbalara Football and Netball Club President Paul Briggs said the establishment of a women’s team was an important moment for the club.
“Rumba has always focused on women in sport since we began 21 years ago,” Mr Briggs said.
“We’ve had strong leadership among women across the governance of Rumba and through netball, health and fitness, Auskick, and other non-competitive AFL programs.
“It is a proud and significant moment that we will become the first Aboriginal club in Victoria to compete in the women’s competitive football league.
“Rumba has always been more than just a sporting club; it’s an expression of our culture and identity and it is making a positive difference to the lived experience of kids, their families and our community.”
The team, whose players range in age from 15-40, has been training with coach Bradley Boon since mid-March.
“I’m excited to be working with a great bunch of women who are hungry to play and eager to learn,” Mr Boon said.
“Some of the girls in our team have never played footy before and I take my hat off to them for embracing a new challenge and stepping out of their comfort zone. They are learning new skills, getting fit and meeting new friends.”
Player Lisa Thorpe said the diversity among the women was the team’s strength.
“The group of girls come from a wide range of backgrounds and footy is bringing us together. It’s been heartening to see new friendships and bonds already develop,” Ms Thorpe said.
“I’m the oldest player at 40 and our youngest is 15 and still at high school.
“We also have a couple of young mums with babies in the team and they are so committed they’re scheduling feeding times around training!
“We’ve also got women fitting in footy around demanding jobs and family commitments.”