2022 Chemist Warehouse AFLW Community Ambassador Announced

Congratulations to Kristie Whittard from the Manly Bombers, Manly Warringah Wolves and the Sydney Swans Academy for being named AFL NSW/ACT’s 2022 Chemist Warehouse AFLW Community Ambassador.

After a lifetime of being around footy, Kristie’s knowledge of the game fused with her unflappable dedication to the growth of women’s and girls’ football, particularly the development of the next generation of female coaches, makes her the ideal candidate for this Ambassadorship.

As the 2022 Chemist Warehouse AFLW Community Ambassador, Kristie receives:

  • – A $1,000 grant from the Women’s Football Fund to donate to her club of choice, the Manly Bombers
  • – An invitation to a virtual networking event to meet the other Ambassadors with AFL Hall of Fame member, Debbie Lee
  • – An in-person experience at the 2022 NAB AFLW Season 7 Grand Final.


Kristie’s normal – yet exceptional – footy journey

It’s a story that our footy community (and sports around the world) has become all too familiar with. Kristie loved playing footy in primary school until, at age nine, was told she couldn’t play the sport she loved as girls weren’t allowed to play school or club footy in Melbourne’s Outer East.

Determined to challenge the status quo, Kristie immersed herself in club culture and set about an unusual pathway back to footy. Unable to play, she instead became Australian and World Karate Champion where she competed internationally against women as a teenage girl.

In an act of fate, it was with the Australian team that her pathway would again intersect with AFL where she was mentored by the late Tom Hafey who inspired her to keep fighting to play footy. Kristie kept getting around footy at all levels, often accompanying her brothers at local games, playing in the backyard and dreaming about the day women would play AFL.

Kristie moved to Sydney in her mid-20s, but she would have to wait another decade but eventually realised her dream of pulling on the boots when she signed up to play for the Manly Warringah Wolves. The rest is history, with Kristie or “Twiggy” as she is best known, continuing to be part of the Wolves to this day, coaching and running, and doing plenty of work around the club.

Now a mother of two teenagers, Kristie is also heavily involved in the Manly Bombers – the region’s junior footy club. She coaches youth boys and girls teams, and spends her spare time coaching other coaches on the best approaches to coach junior girls. By developing better coaches, Kristie knows there’ll be improved on-field results, greater retention of players and a better experience for everyone involved in Sydney footy.

With her CV at community level brimming, Kristie is now entrenching herself into the elite ranks, coaching at the Sydney Swans Academy and working toward a development role for the Sydney Swans’ AFLW team. Kristie reflects that one of her proudest football moments was watching her beloved Swans’ AFLW side take the field for the first time this season.

The sky’s the limit for Kristie Whittard and it’s clear that whatever she does in footy, she’ll take a group of people with her, improving pathways for them and all those who follow.


Kristie’s nomination

Girls can definitely play footy according to Kristie from Manly – or Twiggy as she is better known.

Born into a generation when women didn’t play is what has driven Kristie’s commitment to changing that reality.

Kristie’s energy, knowledge and love for the game is apparent the very second you meet her. Passionate about empowering women on and off the field, Kristie has been instrumental in nurturing junior girls when transitioning into women’s footy, and advocating for improved female coaching pathways.

As a player, Kristie leads with her heart and inspires others to be their best – whether they play for her team or not. She’s well known for her rousing speeches, ability to adjust her coaching message and her success in building an inclusive team culture.

Kristie devotes hours developing players skills and footy IQ at community, Academy and AFLW level. At Manly Bombers and Wolves, she’s first to get to the oval and the last to leave –always with a footy tucked under her arm and time for anyone who wants to have a kick around. 

Kristie’s contribution to grassroots footy in NSW is significant. She’s dedicated to growing AFL and ensuring girls and women can play footy, regardless of their cultural upbringing and circumstances. And when she’s not kitted out in pink as the runner, or playing or coaching – you’ll find her on the boundary line: watching on and cheering, for the love of AFL.


Former AFLW Community Ambassadors

Kristie Whittard joins the following Chemist Warehouse AFLW Community Ambassadors from NSW