Bathurst Giants captain named AFLW Community Ambassador
“I was very shocked, because I didn’t actually know I’d been nominated,” said NSW/ACT’s 2022 Chemist Warehouse AFLW Community Ambassador, Katie Kennedy. “It is really exciting to think that someone would consider me worthy of nomination and then to win it is amazing.”
The Bathurst Giants women’s captain and Youth Girls coach can thank her club’s president, Kathy Sloan, for the nomination and the subsequent experiences she’ll gain across the AFLW season.
As a Chemist Warehouse AFLW Community Ambassador, Katie will receive a $1,000 grant from the Women’s Football Fund to donate to the club of her choice, the opportunity to be involved in the 2022 NAB AFLW Finals Series and invitations to footy networking events.
Drop punts over dancing
Katie began her footballing journey as so many do, through Auskick. As she puts it, her parents thought it would be best for her to join her older brothers on the footy field (even if it deprived her of her first choice, to be a dancer).
“I’m eternally grateful that my parents made that decision for me,” Katie said. “That was nearly 12 years ago and I haven’t looked back.”
Her fondness for Auskick grew into an unbridled passion for the game until she finished under 14s, when girls were no longer allowed to play leaving, her “absolutely devastated”.
Luckily, Katie had the talent to proceed via selection in the state representative side in 2011 (then known as the NSW Blue Birds). Despite being involved in footy for five years, this was her first opportunity to play with girls.
“Playing in a team of girls for the first time was surreal. It was so different to playing with the boys. Someone actually wanted to tackle you and not just push you over.”
Entering senior competition
The footy fire in Katie’s belly remained stoked thanks to the state side, but there was no local youth girls or senior women’s side to get involved with as she was growing up.
To resolve this, Katie campaigned for a women’s team for the Bathurst Giants and in 2018, her dream came true and she could play with other women who loved the game.
Katie was named captain for the Giants’ inaugural season and despite comprising players with no footy experience, the team made the grand final. She continues to lead the side which has not missed a grand final appearance since its inception and has collected a few premierships along the way.
Her secret to the team’s success sounds like something everyone could embrace: “I always choose fun over winning or trying to win, which is why I think we’re doing so well. We don’t go out there to win by 100 points. We just go out there to get the girls enjoying their footy, having fun and getting their friends involved.”
On top of her role captaining the senior women’s side, Katie coaches the Youth Girls team and relishes her position “helping the transition from juniors to seniors and giving those girls the chance that I never had, the chance to play footy right through from junior up until senior.”
2022 Chemist Warehouse AFLW Community Ambassador: Katie Kennedy
Katie is humbled by the opportunity to be the face of community football for the AFLW.
Her dedication and energy for the sport is unrivalled and this accolade is thoroughly deserved. Well done Katie!
As for the $1,000 grant? She’s still working out how to spend it, but may look to redesign the Bathurst Giants’ jumpers to differentiate them from the men’s strip – we can’t wait to see what they come up with!