Empowering Multicultural and Indigenous girls to reach new heights

Written by Leyla Kaya.

Last week, the 2017 Medleys and Rio Tinto AFL Woomeras Leadership Program saw fifty of the best Indigenous and Multicultural players from across the country come together.


WOOEMRAS resized resized

The two groups participated in a six-day camp in Melbourne which focused on personal and cultural development.

The Woomeras team is the national under-16 female Indigenous development program; the Medleys is the national under-16 female Multicultural development program.

The girls had first participated in State try-outs where they were selected for the State Kickstart Team (Indigenous) or State All Nations Team (Multicultural) and following the AFL National Diversity Championships last September, fifty participants were chosen to be part of the Medleys or Woomeras team.

“The 2017 Medleys and Woomeras Leadership Program is an incredible platform for young Indigenous and Multicultural women to not only showcase their great talents, but to also develop leadership skills and the potential for them to become positive role models for their respective communities,” AFL Head of Multicultural & Indigenous Partnerships & Programs Ali Fahour said.

The program is also designed to provide young girls with the opportunity to enhance their football skills and empower them to reach an elite level and there is no better example than 12 year old Savali Tapugao from Fairfield in Sydney’s West.

savali photo resized

“I never thought I would play AFL because I wasn’t a huge fan of it and didn’t know how to play it, but now I actually want to be part of a professional AFLW team.”

Tapugao says her involvement in the Medleys program has allowed her to bond with other girls from all over Australia.

“We’re like sisters now and it’s only been a few days!”

“The best bit about the experience so far has been creating our own team song because we’re making history and that’s really exciting for the whole team” she said.

History was also made on Friday when the Medleys played an exhibition match against the Woomeras at Essendon football club. It was the first time an all-Indigenous girls’ team played alongside all-Multicultural girls’ team in an official match.

The Woomeras also had the opportunity to attend the Nitro Athletics Event where they met sprinter Usain Bolt. On Friday night both the Medleys and the Woomeras attended the AFLW game at Whitten Oval between the Adelaide Crows and Western Bulldogs.

Multicultural girls from NSW/ACT:

Ellie Shefts

Biola Dawa

Tima Tapuho

Savali Tapugao


Indigenous girls from NSW/ACT:

Maleah Walters-Holten

Erin Naden

Dekota Martin

To experience AFL Women’s live in action, head down to Blacktown International Sportspark at 12pm to see the GIANTS take on Fremantle. Entry is FREE! To find out more, click here.