To mark Reconciliation Week, we spoke with Senior Women’s player Judhil ‘Juddie’ Canendo about her football journey as a proud Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander woman.
Originally from Yarrabah in Cairns, QLD, Judhil is part of the Kuku Djungan, Kaurareg and Yidinji (Wallabarra) tribe.
In 2019 she made the big move to Melbourne, and after looking for a way to stay fit and stay social, she has been part of our St Mary’s family since 2021.
However, her footy career started much earlier at 12 years old with the Pyramid Powers after being inspired by her grandfather.
“My grandfather and his brothers played it back in the day, and now me and some of my siblings play too.”
“We all love playing, and it’s a great way to connect with others and keep fit.”
She had an incredibly successful footy career in Cairns, even being selected to join the AFL Cairns Women and Youth Academy in 2016, and got to be part of the AFL Cape York House program, a purpose-built centre where teenage Indigenous girls can live and receive education, training, and of course improve their skills on the field.
Troy Bickerton, Senior Women’s Coach, shared how Judhil’s footy career has only continued to reach new heights as she moved into senior footy at St Mary’s.
“Judhil arrived at her first ever training session at St Mary’s in her thongs as she forgot to bring her runners and that there sums up Juddies off field persona.”
“Get her on the field though and she absolutely shines with outstanding natural talent and an innate ability to just find the goals.”
“Juddie’s voice at training booms over everything else and she always puts in 100%.”
“She is a dream to coach; she takes everything on board, always wanting to better herself.
“Judhil is an absolute asset to the Womens team where she is adored by her team mates, coaches and supporters.”
Judhil has always had a passion for her culture and has carried this into her career now working at an Inidigenous child care centre.
Identifying as an Indigenous woman and a Torres Strait Islander woman, Reconciliation week is incredibly important to Judhil.
“Reconciliation week means a lot to me as a woman that carries the identity of two cultures – Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander.”
“I love seeing all the cultures come together and gathering as one; sharing information about their families, but also stories from times like the stolen generation.”
“It’s so important that everyone acknowledges this week so all Australians learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements.”
“We all need to contribute to achieve reconciliation in Australia.”