To mark NAIDOC Week we spoke with senior women’s player Cheryle Arden about her football journey as a proud Indigenous woman.
As someone part of the Gunditjmara, Yorta Yorta, Mutti Mutti, Kokatha and Arrernte tribes, NAIDOC Week is incredibly important to Cheryle.
“For me, this week is important because it’s a time for all Indigenous tribes across Australia and non-Indigenous Australians to come together and celebrate our culture, and raise awareness of our true history.”
While only starting football this year, Cheryle grew up around footy and many inspiring figures including her uncles who played AFL – Gavin Wanganeen, Aaron Davey, and Alwyn Davey.
Finally, her best friend and fellow senior women’s player, Judhil Canendo, convinced her to play footy as well and she joined St Mary’s this year.
“I was so nervous about playing especially when I was put in the forward line.”
“Initially I didn’t think that I could kick a goal, now I look forward to kicking a sneaky goal every game.”
Senior Women’s Coach Troy Bickerton shared how Cheryle has become a key part of the team since joining.
“Cheryle came down to St Mary’s having never played footy, but that was never going to stop her.”
“She has a true ‘never give up’ attitude and this is reflected both at training and on game day; always willing to pish to the limit to better herself.”
“In only her second ever game of football, Cheryle managed to kick her first goal which sent the team wild.”
“This has now turned into a regular occurrence with Cheryle kicking goals every game since then!”
“Not at all a bad effort for someone playing their first ever season.”
“She has slotted in perfectly to the women’s team as a forward pocket that doesn’t know the meaning of giving up.”
“Off-field, she is a much-loved member of the team, always up for a laugh and a chat, and she’s never one to miss a function; she knows how to have a good time!”