Do you love playing sport, whether it’s having fun with friends and learning new skills, representing your school or club, or you aspire to being on your state team or wearing the green and gold? Is being involved in sport and sharing your experience and knowledge to help others to be the best that they can be what motivates you?
Sport is a great way to have fun, keep in touch with friends and improve health and wellbeing, but there are reasons why some women and girls aren’t as involved in sport as they would like. Maybe the local club doesn’t have a women’s competition, or the uniforms make them feel self-conscious or maybe committing to weekly sessions isn’t possible.
Wyndham City is dedicated to increasing the participation of women and girls in sport, whether through playing, coaching, officiating or on a club committee or by helping clubs to be more inclusive and welcoming to women and girls of all abilities and backgrounds. The more people who are involved in our clubs at all levels, the stronger and more sustainable they will be, helping to build more connected communities.
Below you will find a number of resources to help you and your club.
Get involved – Wyndham sports clubs directory
Find sports clubs through our Active Wyndham Map, filter by Girls, Women, Activity, Suburb and more.
Play Cricket this Summer – clubs recruiting Girls and Women
Wyndham’s Cricket clubs are keen to build on the strong interest that local girls and women have in playing Cricket. They would like to invite anyone who is interested in learning to play Cricket and have some fun to get in touch and join in this Summer.
Be Inspired – watch our Girls and Women in Sport videos
In 2020 our Wyndham Champions and sports clubs helped us make two inspiring videos:
Girls and Women in Sport
Gender Equality in Sport
Gender Equality in Sports Clubs
Girls and Women in Sport in Wyndham Event – Friday 18th September 2020
Thank you to our fantastic speakers from:
- Victoria University: Dr Fiona Mclachlan and Professor Ramon Spaiij shared insight from the Women's Participation in Sport and Active Recreation in Melbourne's West: Action Plan for Change. Please find a copy of their slides here.
- North Melbourne Football Club: Laura Kane, Emma Kearney and Ben Brown talked about their journey towards gender equality.
- Sanctuary Lakes Cricket Club: Sonja Jenkinson and Point Cook Football Club: Samantha Pruscino shared their experiences and advice around recruiting and retaining girls and women of all skill levels, whilst developing an inclusive environment.
We also announced our Wyndham Champions – successful nominees’ profiles can be found on this page.
A recording of the event can be found below:
Resources to help clubs with gender equality actions
Creating club environments where girls and women enjoy playing, want to spend their time and can gain the many benefits of participating in clubs including contributing, life skills, confidence and leadership skills is much more than creating a girls or women’s team or pathway from junior to adult or having universally accessible changing rooms. Ensuring that our clubs are open, inclusive and are tailored to everyone creates an environment where everyone feels supported and welcome to take part in any role. From social media to website, club rooms displaying information and photos reflective of the whole club membership, to clear communication pathways and committee representation, small changes create an overall more inclusive and welcoming environment.
Wyndham City Council have created and collated the resources below to help clubs with establishing new girls and womens teams and creating more inclusive and supportive environments. If you would like support or advice in making changes please contact a member of the Sport and Recreation team.
- Gender Equality Club Resource 1. A gender equitable club
- Gender Equality Club Resource 2. Creating Girls and Womens teams Questions
- Gender Equality Club Resource 3. Promotion and Engagement Plan
- Gender Equality Club Resource 4. Recruiting and retaining girls and women in sport insight
- Gender Equality Club Resource 5. A Gender Lens for Website Facebook and Media
- Gender Equality Club Resource 6. Volunteering session notes
- Gender Equality Club Resource 7. 13 quick steps to getting a new team going
- Gender Equality Club Resource 8. Gender Equality Toolkit snapshot by Lead Between the Lines
- Gender Equality Club Resource 9. Club Hub tips from Club Resource Kit
- Gender Equality Club Resource 10. Case Study Social Football – Brunswick City Soccer Club
- Gender Equality Club Dev 11. AFL Womens Football Club Guide
- Gender Equality Club Dev 12. Change Our Game women committee members in sport - recruitment and retention
- Gender Equality Club Resource 13. Play by the Rules Team Culture Infographic
One-to-one work with clubs
A number of Wyndham’s clubs have been working on gender equality: Williams Landing Soccer Club, Tarneit United Soccer Club, Werribee Centrals Sports Club, Werribee Basketball Association, Western Athletics Club, Werribee Juniors Cricket Club, Wyndham Rhinos, Hoppers Indoor Sportz, Werribee City Football Club, Wyndham United Soccer Club, Sanctuary Lakes Cricket Club, Werribee Football Club, Hoppers Crossing Soccer Club and Sanctuary Lakes Golf Club.
Through conversations, completion of a gender equity audit, attending training and networking workshops and events, most clubs have a Gender equality action plan which they are looking to implement over the next 12 months.
Examples of gender equality club work that Wyndham clubs have been doing: (please attach)
One-stop shop that takes the hard work out of finding online resources. The document connects you to local, state, national and international sites.
Position description your club can modify that outlines the role of a sports club Women’s Officer.
Resources, ideas and links to support clubs in all areas including being more welcoming to girls and women.
Use this Survey Monkey survey to do a ‘gender health check’ of your club.
|Gender Equity in Sport & Recreation Research Review||A concise review of girls and women's participation in sport and recreation, barriers and recommendations to help clubs and organisations.|
Sign up as a campaign supporter to access the Promotional toolkit and Campaign materials
Resources and ideas to assist your club to become more diverse, welcoming and open to everyone.
|Hear 2 Talk||a community led social media group connecting individuals and clubs who would like to share ideas, challenges and support to help increase women and girls’ participation in sport. All new members need to complete the membership registration questions when they request to join.|
|Social Sport- Soccer Mums|
Running a social sporting program is a great way for girls and women to be active and have fun without being competitive – but how can clubs get involved?
Wyndham City’s Gender Equality in Wyndham Sport Project Officer Camilla Briggs sat down with Brunswick City FC Soccer Mums Coordinator Heather McGiddy recently to discuss her experience implementing Soccer Mums, a social soccer initiative. There is also a bonus second interview about a social AFL initiative which Heather was also involved in – enjoy!
A Victorian government initiative that aims to level the playing field for women and girls in sport and active recreation.
Resources and information to support inclusion in clubs.
Victorian government website for all things sport and recreation. Offers information on safe clubs, grants, funding and sport integrity.
VicHealth campaign to get more women involved in physical activity. Provides strategies to get active. Become a member to access club resources.
The Guardian: Patience remains key to growing women’s rugby in Australia
Briony Akle: Only one truly elite competition
|Women Sport Australia|
The peak national advocacy body for women in sport.
|Women’s sport post Covid-19||What will Covid-19 meant for the future of women’s sport?|
|Sport Australia||Let’s stop calling it women’s sport|
|This OurWatch video explains how embedding gender equality and respectful relationships in sporting organisations helps to prevent violence against women and their children in communities.|
Coaching/ umpiring and refereeing information
We have collated information on coaching, umpiring, refereeing and general courses which are beneficial to all club volunteers. There are a number of online courses which can be accessed at any time, they are a great way to upskill when you aren’t able to play your sport so that next season you can be ready for action, many of these courses are free. Courses may change/ be converted to a different delivery format, we will try to update this information when we obtain it.
“We all participate in sport for many different reasons. Some are interested in maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle, others love the thrill of competing with their friends and a rare few set their sights on winning medals for their country. Whatever the motivation, we mostly choose our own pathways, although sometimes the pathway chooses us.” (AIS)
Wyndham Champions of Girls’ and Women’s Sport profiles
In 2020 we recognised 48 inspirational athletes, coaches, umpires and club members who had made a significant contribution to Wyndham’s girls and women’s sport landscape.
Read the profiles of our Wyndham Champions of Girls and Women’s Sport below:
Young up and coming performers – State representatives
This category celebrates those who work hard and have achieved outstanding success, providing role models to other young girls.
Thushana Deenathayalan - Wyndham Track and Field Club
Thushana Deenathayalan is a silver-medal winning discus thrower and fierce all-round track and field competitor. After transitioning to Athletics Victoria competitions from Little Athletics last year, Thushana made her presence felt.
She won a silver medal for discus in the Victorian Track and Field Championships and earned the right to represent Victoria at the Nationals. In addition, Thushana competed in 10 out of 12 interclub competitions, averaging three events per Saturday afternoon.
A willing, enthusiastic competitor, Thushana played a crucial role in the Wyndham Track and Field Club being awarded the Premiership Title for the 2019-20 year. Through Thushana’s consistent efforts, she contributed many points towards the title, and has proved to be an invaluable team member.
Ella Birk - Wyndham Track and Field Club
Ella Birk is a bright, talented, up-and-coming youngster and someone to keep your eye on. Ella is currently ranked second in Australia for her age group in triple jump – and if this trajectory continues, we can expect to see big things from her in the future!
Indeed, in her first year competing in Athletics Victoria competitions, Ella won a silver medal for triple jump and holds a current qualification to compete in the Australian Athletics Championships in Sydney 2021.
But it’s not only the triple jump that Ella excels at. She has been a Little Athletics State medallist for the past five years in high jump and hurdles. These accomplishments saw Ella awarded Wyndham Track and Field Club's most outstanding female athlete of the 2018/2019 season. The Wyndham Track and Field Club is looking forward to bigger and better things from Ella and would like to recognise her time, talent and commitment to the City of Wyndham.
Natasha Jonus – Wyndham Track and Field Club
Natasha Jonus is scaling dizzying heights in athletics. A new comer to Track and Field, joining the athletics scene in 2018 with Werribee Little Athletics and transitioning to senior level in 2019 with the Wyndham Track and Field Club. It is here that in her first Athletics Victorian Track and Field Championships, Natasha won the U14 high jump and in the process smashed the U13 girls record, a record that stood for over 3 years.
Subsequently, giving her a deserving position to be nominated for Athletics Victoria's Junior Female Athlete of the Year award. However, her success does not end there, she also placed 2nd in the Triple Jump at the very same Victorian Championships. These results have now cemented her current Australian No. 1 ranking in High Jump for her age and current 3rd ranking in Australia for Triple Jump. As a result, Natasha qualified to represent Victoria in the Nationals for the U14s high jump and triple jump in Sydney this year however the event was cancelled due to COVID-19. She remains qualified and eligible to represent Victoria in 2021. Through her hard work, teamwork and camaraderie she is a shining example to her teammates and peers.
Soumeya Biao – Western Athletics Club
Soumeya Biao is an 18-year-old Point Cook resident who is achieving success both on and off the track. Last track season was by far Soumeya's most successful, seeing her win bronze medals in the Victorian 100-metre and 200-metre sprints for the Under 20 age group.
And in early 2020 Soumeya was the sole representative for her school in the Victorian Secondary Schools Track and Field competition, where she was rewarded with a gold and silver medal.
Soumeya has a part-time job at a local restaurant and is currently completing her VCE at Point Cook Secondary. Soumeya is an ambassador for athletics, regularly introducing other Point Cook Secondary students to sport, setting them on the path to enjoy the health and social benefits of the sport.
Anastasia Kusmawan - Golden Fish Synchronised Swimming Club
Anastasia is proof that a career in sport can take you across the world. Last year, at the age of 14, Anastasia represented Australia in the inaugural FINA Youth World Championships in Samorin, Slovakia.
Anastasia’s journey to the world championships had been seven years’ in the making, consisting of tireless training up to five times per week.
Indeed, Anastasia first took up synchronised swimming as a seven-year-old. A strong swimmer with an artistic streak, Anastasia loved the fact synchronised swimming allowed her to be expressive in the water.
She has always showed great commitment to the Golden Fish Synchronised Swimming Club, travelling from her home in Werribee, to train at Victoria University in Footscray.
Anastasia feels that the secret to her success is not really a secret – work hard, listen to your coach and always try your best.
Leanna Tito – Rise Mixed Martial Arts
Leanna Tito began training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu five years ago. The fact Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a male-dominated sport hasn’t deterred Leanna one iota – she has frequently competed against and triumphed over many male competitors over the years.
Leanna’s most recent tournament was in December 2019 at a Grappling Industries event held at Monash University, attended by jiu-jitsu practitioners from across Australia and the world.
Here, Leanna was the sole female competitor in the 12-13 grey/black belt competition, and thanks to her skill and determination she earned a place on the tournament’s podium.
Leanna has inspired many other female members at her club, encouraging them to persist with their own journeys with the sport. She says Brazilian jiu-jitsu has taught her to be confident and brave.
“I have met so many people from different clubs and have made many friends who share the love of BJJ,” Leanna says. “I want to keep learning this art and eventually teach younger girls to learn the art of jiu-jitsu.”
Aristea Papax – Williams Landing Football Club
Aristea is the captain of the Williams Landing Football club Under 16 girls’ team who hopes to one day play soccer professionally.
Aristea’s work ethic and talent has been recognised by some of the top soccer coaches in the world, and she was invited to train with the senior women’s soccer team at the prestigious Dinamo Zagreb Academy in Croatia.
Here, she was trained by coaches of professional European clubs such as Fulham FC, Benfica (Portugal), Heerenveen (Holland), Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) and Southampton FC (England), who were full of praise for Aristea’s incredible skills.
Aristea has also been invited to train with England’s Southhampton Football Club, however this is on pause at present due to COVID-19.
Aristea is not just a skilful player in both the Williams Landing Football Club girls and boys teams but a leader and mentor across the club. Aristea’s love for the sport is undeniable and her work ethic to improve is unquestionable.
She is also very clear minded about what it takes to make it to the top: patience, persistence, hard work, and humility.
Ashley Seow – Golden Fish Synchronised Swimming Club
Ashley Seow was only five years old when she saw synchronised swimming for the first time. It was the 2012 Olympics and she never knew swimmers could perform stunts like that to music. That year her parents signed her up for lessons and she’s been a synchronised swimmer ever since.
Ashley is currently the youngest swimmer on the Victorian team and has participated in Synchronised Swimming National competitions since the age of seven. Her biggest achievement was taking the gold for her Solo routine in the Under 12 category at Nationals 2019. She has also represented her school in swim meets.
Ashley trains five days a week online with her club Golden Fish Synchro, working on land drills, flexibility and stamina. Don’t be fooled by the makeup and sequined costumes, synchronised swimming requires incredible strength, resilience and countless hours of practice to make it look flawless.
The gruelling hours of hard work has sharpened Ashley’s determination and she intends to try out for the Youth National Team 2021 and dreams of representing Australia at the Olympics.
Chantelle Williams – Western Athletics
At only 16, sprinter Chantelle Williams qualified for the 2020 Australian Track and Field Championships following her performance in the 100 metres at the Open Age Athletics Victoria High Velocity competition.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions she was unable to compete.
According the Western Athletics, Chantelle is a fine example to younger girls coming through the club as she has a very high work ethic and happily assists younger girls to excel at their chosen athletic discipline.
Jade Chitty – Western Athletics
Jade Chitty transitioned to Western Athletics after participating in weekly Little Athletics events in the Wyndham community. As Jade’s weekly participation progressed, her talent in race walking emerged. Jade is a quietly motivated athlete who is committed and dedicated to athletics.
The senior athletics environment at Western Athletics has provided an opportunity to develop and progress Jade’s race-walking talent. Jade’s single biggest achievement has been winning her first gold medal at the 2020 Victorian State Track and Field Championships in Under 17 5000m walk.
This win qualified Jade to represent Victoria at the National Track and Field Championships in Sydney, which she was unfortunately unable to compete in due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Jade inspires others to follow in her footsteps, with many younger athletes asking if “they can join in with her”. As a leader in sport, Jade’s message is to give sport a try, be active and develop your fitness, health and wellbeing for life.
Rebekah Sutton – Western Athletics
Rebekah Sutton is a young, dedicated athlete who has shown she is willing to do the hard work to achieve her dreams. At the 2019 Victorian All Schools Championships, Rebekah placed third in the Under 18 shot put (3kg), earning her a spot at the 2019 Australian All School Championships. There, representing Victoria, she won silver in the Under 18 hammer throw (3kg) and had top 10 finishes in the Under 18 shot put (3kg) and discus (1kg).
At the 2020 Victorian State Track and Field Championships, Rebekah competed in both the Open and Under 20 age categories, winning silver in the Under 20 hammer throw (4kg), bronze in the Under 20 discus (1kg) with top 10 finishes in the Under 20 shot put and the Open hammer throw.
Rebekah combines her training with work and study, enthusiastically travelling a 70-kilometre round trip to train at the VU Track in Hoppers Crossing at least twice a week.
Lauren Jones – Wyndham Basketball Association
Lauren Jones is a role model for all the girls and women within the Wyndham Basketball Association and has represented the club in domestic competitions, the Victorian Junior Basketball League, Big V and State level programs.
She has achieved great success in her junior career so far, including her selection in Basketball Victoria’s High-Performance Program for four consecutive years; being selected for the Vic Metro Under 16 and Under 18 State Squad for the East Coast Challenge in 2018 and 2020; named as an emergency player for the Vic Metro U18 Women State Team in 2020; and being chosen to participate in the South Side Flyers (WNBL) Academy in 2019.
Lauren was also part of the Wyndham Big V Women's Championship winning team in 2019 and was awarded Most Improved Player. She continues to give back to the community through coaching and volunteering.
Lauren encouraged others to give sport – any sport – a go. “Being a girl doesn’t mean you can’t be competitive and challenge others,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose or make mistakes, it’s about having fun and learning new things.”
Aliyah Canepa – Western Athletics
Since 2018 Aliyah Canepa has been excelling in both junior championships and in the senior ranks as a thrower.
The dedication to her training has afforded her exceptional results for field events in athletics, both in her age group and higher. She currently holds the State Record for the Under 15 hammer throw and holds all the Western Athletics records for Under 14 to Under 18 in hammer throw, as well as the records for Under 14 to Open for discus.
Some of her most recent achievements include winning gold in the hammer throw at both the 2018 and 2019 Australian Junior Championships; gold in the Under 18 hammer throw at the All Schools Track and Field Championships; and silver in the Under 18 hammer throw at the Oceania Championships.
She has also excelled in Open Age events while still being a junior, including placing third in hammer at the Victorian Countries event and fourth in the 4kg hammer at the 2020 Melbourne Track Classic Open. She is currently ranked in the top five in the Open Age hammer throw.
As well as her training and competing commitments, Aliyah has also been coaching at Werribee Little Athletics for the past two years.
Chloe Maczka – Wyndham Sharks Swimming Club
Chloe Maczka found her passion for competitive swimming when she was nine years old, at the St. Andrews Primary School swimming carnival. With a desire to improve her technique while continuing to compete, she joined the Wyndham City Sharks Swimming Club.
Today, Chloe is the current Girls 14-year-old Victorian 100m Breaststroke Champion, winning the title in December 2019. She also won the bronze medal in the 200m Breaststroke. Chloe had qualified for and was due to participate in the Australian Age Swimming Championships in Perth this year, but the competition was cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Chloe has also won a host of other State medals at both the Victorian Long Course and Short Course Championships, and Victorian All Junior Competition.
Chloe loves the excitement of racing and the “rush” of big competitions, and says her motivation and inspiration is to improve her technique and personal best times. She lists her biggest inspiration to get involved in swimming as her primary school sports teacher, Mrs Sally Taylor.
Chloe’s message to others is: “Always try your best, keep pushing toward your goals, don't give up, and even when it gets hard, try harder!”
Imogen Makin – Werribee Little Athletics Centre
Imogen Makin is 12 years old and has competed at Werribee Little Athletics Centre since she was an Under 6 athlete, commencing in the 2013/14 season. She got involved with little athletics because she loved running, she has since developed her talents in throwing events.
Imogen's accolades include being a two-time School Sport Victoria State team representative in shot put and discus at the National 10-12 Years Track and Field Championships in 2018 and 2019. She was also State shot put Champion for 2017, 2018 and 2019; State discus Medallist for 2017, 2018 and 2019; School Sport Victoria State Champion discus 2018; School Sport Victoria State Medallist in discus 2019; and School Sport Victoria State Medallist in shot put for 2017, 2018 and 2019.
Imogen was previously coached by Mark Hambling at Werribee Little Athletics Club, and is now training with the Altona Throws Squad, coached by Brett Hardeman. She attends Maribyrnong Sports Academy as a student athlete in the Track and Field stream.
Imogen's message to girls is that it's cool to be strong and powerful!
Inspirational people and drivers of change
Those who have gone above and beyond to increase opportunities for girls and women in sport, increased visibility of girls and women, or who have a story to tell which will inspire others (including male coaches).
Sonja Jenkinson – Sanctuary Lakes Cricket Club
When Sonja Jenkinson and her daughters started playing in mixed teams at Sanctuary Lakes Cricket Club, she quickly identified a need for a stand-alone girls’ team within the club. Sonja understood that many girls who wanted to play cricket were reluctant or scared to play in a mixed team with boys, so the club appointed her the first Female Coordinator and in 2017-18 Sanctuary Lakes CC entered its first girls Under 13 team in the Western Region Junior Cricket Association. That same year, with Sonja as the coach, the club won its first all-girls team premiership.
Since then, Sonja has worked hard to recruit more players and the club now also boasts an Under 16 girls’ team, with many of the players going on to play in representative teams. Under Sonja’s leadership and direction the club has won another four girls’ premierships, with both teams being successful in season 2019-20.
The club had planned to introduce an adult female team for the 2020/21 season – again with Sonja at the helm – however with the current COVID-19 restrictions it has been difficult to recruit new members.
Sonja, who is also club secretary, has been commended by Sanctuary Lakes CC for her strong enthusiasm and team spirit, noting that without Sonja’s dedication in establishing the girls’ teams, many young girls in the western suburbs would not be playing cricket as they simply would not have had the opportunity.
Sandhya Rani Maganti – Avyukt Aryahi Tarneit Cricket Club
Sandhya Rani Maganti has been a full-time volunteer at Avyukt Aryahi Tarneit Cricket Club since 2013, originally joining to support her husband. Later she encouraged her son Avyukt to play and to give her daughter Aryahi the same opportunity she motivated her to join the Under 11s boys team in the 2018/19 season.
Keen to form a stand-alone girls’ team, Sandhya approached nearby schools, friends and other families, mindful of the fact that it was particularly difficult to convince subcontinent families to get their daughters involved in sport, especially cricket.
In the 2019/20 season she successfully formed a girls’ team with 10 players, with three of the girls ranked in the top three of the Western Region Junior Association (girls). Further, one of the players was selected to represent WRJCA Rep Cricket in 2019/20.
Sandhya is now President and Treasurer for the club, a team manager and scorer – all while juggling her work and family.
Anna Simosis – Williams Landing Football Club
Anna Simosis is determined to make positive changes in community soccer to ensure that male and female players get equal recognition. Anna, who sits on the Williams Landing Football Club (WLFC) Committee, has two sons and a daughter that play at the club and understands the challenges facing females in sport.
She has worked tirelessly to develop the club’s website and social media platforms and is using these to promote and encourage females playing soccer. Anna also does all WLFC’s marketing, kit designs and even designed the club logo.
The club say Anna “has brought total professionalism to WLFC” and they are blessed to have her as part of the team.
Loren Lane – Western Athletics
People who have only known Loren during her adult life see a strong, intelligent, successful and determined young woman, however Loren spent her teenage years suffering with mental illness and anorexia.
She now dedicates a lot of her life into helping others use sport as a way to better their lives, and has actively given back to the community through a number of roles, including bike stream lead for Can4Cancer/Tour de Cure with CBA; Vice President of the Coogee Triathlon club, which has a strong focus on female participation and beginners; leader of weekly cycles in the local community; Run Director at Parkrun; and a Nike running group leader and pacer.
Loren has also completed four full Ironman events, multiple half Ironman events, qualified for the World Championships in athletics, trains 15-20 hours a week, was selected for an elite coaching group, and “am above all else incredibly happy”.
“My advice for both females and males either getting into a new sport or trying to further themselves in their chosen sport is know that everyone has to start somewhere and although it may be intimidating to try something new, you have to start somewhere,” she said.
Ellie Tubbs – Werribee Centrals Sports and Youth Club
Ellie Tubbs is a multiple ‘A’ Grade Netball Premiership player. She has been at the Werribee Centrals Sports and Youth Club for 12 years as a player, competing in nearly every grade. By the time she was 21, she took on the role of Netball Coordinator, a role she holds to this day. This includes managing four senior netball sides, two junior netball sides and taking a position on the Football and Netball committee.
Alongside her co-ordinating and committee obligations, Ellie continues to coach various senior and junior sides. Along with other players she has provided opportunities to the community to participate in free junior netball clinics, encouraging young girls to play and enjoy netball at Werribee Centrals. This resulted in the club fielding a 13 and Under team for the first time in 2020, a feat which was unfortunately interrupted by COVID-19.
According to the Werribee Centrals, “Ellie has been a driver of inclusiveness and been a regular on our social committees … (she) gives 110% to our club.”
Vanessa Pereira – Western Region Junior Cricket Association
Vanessa is the Vice President of the Western Region Junior Cricket Association (WRJCA) – Girls Portfolio.
With the support of the WRJCA, she co-ordinated the establishment of standalone junior girls competitions within the Association a number of years ago and in 2019-20 the Association fielded a full 'pathway' for junior girls for the first time with grades at Under 11, Under 13 and Under 16, a testament to her hard work.
Vanessa has had direct involvement and made a significant contribution to the development of junior girls’ cricket across Wyndham and the wider western suburbs – but insists she couldn’t have done it alone.
“I would like to acknowledge the entire WRJCA Committee, who have encouraged the development of a Girls Program and fully supported its inclusion into the Associations competition,” Vanessa said.
“The greatest thanks and acknowledgement must go to the clubs that have supported the program. The individuals and committees at our clubs are the hard working, striving to include all the community in the sport of cricket.”
Nardine Bainbridge – Western Athletics
Nardine Bainbridge has lived with Asperger’s her entire life and has shown through commitment and hard work that success at a high level can be achieved.
She has represented Victoria at the Australian Marathon Championships twice, once rewarded with a bronze medal. In 2019 she also represented Victoria in the Australian Half Marathon Championships and was also part of the Victorian silver medal team.
Nardine has won the Western Athletics Champion Winter Athlete on numerous occasions and constantly encourages, supports and leads not only young girls and women, but is a great example to all.
She quietly leads by example, running on average 100km per week, while also working and studying 50-plus hours a week.
Claire Hodgart – Western Athletics
Claire Hodgart is a Hoppers Crossing resident who has represented Victoria in both track and cross country competitions, including as Team Captain of the Victorian Schools team in 2014. In 2018 she was selected as a Victorian team member in the Australian Half Marathon Championships.
Last year Claire participated in the Australian Mountain Running Championships and was part of the Victorian team that finished second. Claire has completed her university degree specialising in Exercise Physiology which she uses to assist many others at Western Athletics with physical rehabilitation advice and sports massage. She is now undertaking a Masters in Physiotherapy.
She has also assisted the club's Committee with social media publicity and has managed the club performance records for many years. Claire now is a Committee member and has for many years been a leader of young girls and women throughout the athletics community and her work at Aquapulse as both a lifeguard and physical trainer. She has also volunteered as a Nike pacer and a Surf Lifesaver at Williamstown for the past 12 years and is a regular official at both State and National athletics competitions.
Ruby Ruby – Werribee Junior Cricket Club
Ruby Ruby is an integral ingredient to the Werribee Junior Cricket Club’s success in promoting girls’ cricket.
When the club started an all-girls team in 2018 with nine girls, Ruby was appointed the Girls’ Co-ordinator and due to her ongoing commitment and passion the club fielded two girls’ teams the following year. She has worked hard to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for young girls and works closely with them to ensure their individual needs are met.
According to the Werribee Junior Cricket Club, Ruby “represents the best interests of women and young girls and reports directly to the Committee on all matters that specifically impact them”.
“Ruby goes above and beyond her volunteer role to promote the girls’ participation and create a safe and fun environment to the girls who have signed up to play cricket. She is an asset not just for our club but a true representative of female sports and participation in the Wyndham area,” the club says.
Kellee McIntosh – Manor Lakes Football Club
Kellee McIntosh is one of the first female footballers in Wyndham to progress from junior football to a successful senior career. She has won four club goal kicking awards and two League goal kicking awards.
Kellee has been an inspirational player for the Manor Lakes Senior Women’s team, playing in four finals series, including three Grand Finals and winning two premierships. She is also well-known for being a supportive team member and role model to all newcomers of the game in the female ranks.
Kellee, who started playing football when she was 16, says her only regret is that she didn’t start sooner.
“To any girls or women out there that are hesitant to start playing a sport for any reason, don’t be,” she said.
“Football has enriched my life, from the friendships, to premierships, to personal achievements on the field and being a part of a senior women’s team from almost the beginning of their existence. I love being part of and helping to develop the game I love.”
Taylah Steadman – Hoppers Crossing Cricket Club
Taylah Steadman joined Hoppers Crossing Cricket Club’s (HCCC) Under 17s junior program in the 2016/17 season after playing juniors in Hobsons Bay.
The following season, she became one of the inaugural players in the club’s re-introduction to Senior Women’s cricket, culminating a T20 premiership in that season.
In season 2019/20 Taylah took over as the Captain of HCCC’s senior women's team and exceeded all expectations on-field and off-field, particularly with her support of the junior players. This year she also became the club’s first-ever female Club Champion and swept all of the individual awards – an incredible achievement.
During her time at the club Taylah has coached an Under 11 team for a season and for the last three years has participated as a facilitator in the club’s Blaster Programs. Taylah is considered an integral part of the community of Hoppers Crossing Cricket Club and an inspiration to its junior and senior female cricketers.
Samantha Pruscino – Point Cook Football Club
Samantha Pruscino has held many roles within Point Cook Football Club (PCFC) since joining in 2009, including general committee member, Secretary, Administrator and Netball Coordinator. In recent years she championed the club’s foray into netball, unheard of for a football club in the region. Samantha oversaw the whole operation, organising coaches, sports trainers, players, uniforms, equipment, training venues and was the Team Manager for both teams in the inaugural year.
Her efforts were rewarded when the club won a Premiership in the first year of the Western Region Football League – Netball Competition. In 2020 the club had enough numbers to field four netball teams until COVID-19 restrictions ended the season.
Samantha said when she first joined the committee, she was the only female in a male-dominated environment – nevertheless, she was welcomed with open arms.
“Inclusion is such a large part of what makes clubs successful and is why I love PCFC. Nobody is ever turned away, and everyone is encouraged and treated equally,” she said.
Kirsty Dolny – Wyndham Basketball Association
Kirsty Dolny has been a major driving force as the Wyndham Basketball Association (WBA) has transformed from a volunteer-run to professional sporting organisation. Over the last six years she has sat on a number of WBA boards, and currently sits on the Executive Committee as the Treasurer. Kirsty has been a driving forced in creating an inclusive environment throughout the organisation, inspiring female players, referees, mums and juniors to get involved.
Kirsty said joining the committee has been a very rewarding experience.
“We have consistently focused on improving our diversity through providing choice, with a wide range of programs to suit different ability levels and aspiration levels, whether it be as a player, coach or official,” she said.
“Women are great at creating a strong sense of team and community, and we have definitely seen an exciting increase in female mentoring, coaching and stewardship, particularly driven by our dedicated staff, our committees and our Big V women's teams.”
“And when our Big V women's team won the Championship Women's title last year, it really showed our young female members that anything is possible!”
Coaches, Umpires, Referees who are role models
This category celebrates girls and women who are coaches, umpires and referees that inspire others to take part in sport through strong leadership and values.
Allison Scholey – Wyndham Basketball Association
Allison Scholey is Chair of Wyndham Basketball Association's (WBA) Referee Program, has been refereeing herself for 29 years and is part of the WBA executive team.
She has continually highlighted to women and girls throughout the WBA the possibilities for them as referees and has mentored more than 100 young women and girls to become referees in her time with the association.
In the past two years, Allison has won awards from Basketball Victoria and the Technical Officials Commission (the official state basketball referee organisation) awards. According to the Wyndham Basketball Association, Allison is a star whose hard work and dedication to the WBA and refereeing is an inspiration to all, not just women and girls – and we agree!
Jamal Mohammed – Truganina Cricket Club
Jamal Mohammed is the Secretary and Coach of the Truganina Cricket Club (TCC) and oversees eight junior teams, including six boys’ team and two girl’s teams.
In 2018 he established Under 11s and Under 13s girls cricket teams and now more than 20 girls play across these two teams under the Western Region Junior Cricket Association. Over the 2019/20 season the club’s Under 13 girls were runners-up, a huge achievement for a relatively young team.
Jamal has worked hard to create opportunities for girls within TCC and encourage girls from Truganina and surrounding suburbs to play competitive cricket. He believes in hard work, practice, patience and helping emerging talent to develop their game to the next level, irrespective of gender.
He also conducts the Junior Blaster program for both boys and girls.
Nathan Smithwick – Manor Lakes Sport and Youth Club
Nathan Smithwick’s contribution to women’s and girls’ sport is nothing short of substantial. Nathan worked closely with both Manor Lakes Football Club and Western Region Football League (WRFL) to establish a women’s competition, even mentoring coaches from other teams to help them start women’s sides.
He also allowed Manor Lakes players to play for other women’s clubs to make sure that all new teams could fill their sides and be competitive on the field, giving the club a great reputation for being the leaders in women’s football.
In 2017 he coached the Manor Lakes Senior Women’s team for the inaugural WRFL/EDFL Senior Women’s Grand Final, and although Manor Lakes didn’t take the trophy home on the day, the team went on to win the Premiership in the inaugural WRFL Senior Women’s Football League season.
Shani Cashin – Gymnastics
Shani Cashin has been involved in gymnastics as a gymnast, coach and judge for 27 years, starting with Kindergym at Werribee Gymnastics and working her way up to Head Coach. In that time she earned a Womens Artistic Gymnastics (WAG) silver coaching qualification and implemented a trainee coaching program to assist coaches through their education, and has also personally assisted many coaches achieve their next coaching levels.
Since 2009, she’s coached several gymnasts to podium finishes at State championship level. She started judging the sport in 2012 and was nominated Official of the Year at the Gymnastics Victoria Awards in 2019.
Shani was the Competitive Program Coordinator at Essendon Keilor Gymnastics Academy and last year moved to Geelong YMCA where she works in the high-performance program and as the Wellbeing Coordinator for athletes and coaches.
She received a Women Leaders in Sport grant to do a Federation of International Gymnastics 2 Coaching Accreditation and was selected to be a part of a WAG advisory committee for Gymnastics Victoria, helping to determine the future direction of the sport.
Gaurav Mahajan – Werribee Junior Cricket Club
Gaurav Mahajan is the girls’ Under 13 coach at Werribee Junior Cricket Club. He has shown great commitment in working with the team, who came to the club with various skill levels, to become very skilled cricket players. Gaurav has also placed a strong focus on the girls’ overall development and growth mindset, rather than winning games.
As a team who hardly won a single match in the first season, their persistence and commitment won them the premiership the next season, under Gaurav’s mentorship. Since then, five girls from the team have been selected in the West Metro Representative Cricket Program, which has provided them with a pathway to enhance their skills.
The Werribee Junior Cricket Club says Gaurav has been instrumental in motivating girls to play what has traditionally been seen as a male-dominated sport.
Wiki Noda Taurua – Wyndham Basketball Association
The goal of great coaching is to guide, inspire and empower an athlete or team to achieve their full potential and be good people on and off the court.
As a coach, Wiki Noda Taurua has had the ability to unify a group of players to create a positive culture for a team and supports them to be great in whatever it is they want to do. This has been proven by seeing all her players reach representative levels in basketball and various sports.
Wiki has an-in depth knowledge of basketball, netball and various sports, an understanding of the fundamental skills and strategies involved in a game and is very aware of the individual differences in each player and the strengths people bring. Her knowledge as a coach has come from achieving many State and National championships back home in New Zealand and she is an inspiration to many within the WBA community.
Jackie Gibson – Wyndham Basketball Association
Jackie Gibson is the Wyndham Basketball Association’s Coaching and Programs Co-Ordinator and has long been a role model for young girls, women, and coaches, leading by example.
She takes pride in being a role model for girls and women by “breaking the mould” and holding roles that women don’t traditionally have in sporting clubs. Jackie started out as the Representative Boys Coaching Lead and is now coach of the Wyndham Under 18 Boys team, assistant coach with the Wyndham Big V Championship Men’s team and development coach with the Under 18 Victoria Metro Women’s team.
She believes it is important for young men to see women in these leadership roles and be coached by women to continue to change the perception of gender roles in sport. Jackie held a woman's only coaching clinic last year and is now planning to further this with a women's only coaching program in the new year to build a network for female coaches and to help upskill and build the confidence of female coaches within Wyndham.
Colette Taylor – Western Athletics
Colette Taylor started officiating at Little Athletics when her three children were competing and she saw the need for more parent helpers. She completed all the required training and became a weekly volunteer.
When her daughter moved up into the seniors competition, she became a parent helper at Western Athletics and then gained the necessary qualifications to become an official for both the Track and Field and Cross Country seasons. Even after her daughter stopped competing and moved on to football, Colette continued officiating for the club. She also started actively trying to recruit other officials, starting with her 13-year-old son, who is now a cadet official with Athletics Victoria.
Her personal highlight was being an official in the Australian Masters Championships in Melbourne, prompting her to start running with a coach.
“I encourage moms (and dads) that have to take their kids to sports events (games, training sessions, competitions) to not just sit on the sidelines … get off the bench or out of your car and volunteer in the canteen, officiate, carry the kids' water bottles and even train while they are training,” Colette said.
Emilee Harmon – Wyndham Basketball Association
Emilee Harmon is a basketball champion both on and off the court.
Emilee is the Basketball Development Officer at Wyndham Basketball Association and oversees the Association’s Athletic Performance program, Aussie Hoops and all beginner programs, being the first point of contact for the next generation of basketball players.
She also boasts a decorated playing career as one of Big V Women’s Import and Star players. Coming out of high school, Emilee was ranked the 23rd best prospect in the USA and the fourth overall in the state of Ohio. Emilee earned a scholarship to Division 1 College at Ohio State University and was Associated Press Co-Player of the Year for Ohio and 1st Team All-State three years straight. In Australia, she played with the Albury Wodonga Bandits, Launceston Tornadoes, and Nunawading Spectres in the South East Australian Basketball League, played in the inaugural NBL1 season with Albury Wodonga Bandits and was named NBL1 All Star 2019.
Emilee said basketball offered her a place where beauty and boldness were not only accepted, but celebrated.
“It was a platform where it was ok for me to be a tall, strong, loud, aggressive, and passionate female, all characteristics that I did not find were as welcomed off of the court,” she said.
“All aspiring females should know that there is a place like that for them in this world and that is the kind of culture we want to continue to build on here at WBA.”
Kylie Smith – Western Athletics
Kylie Smith started competing in Little Athletics when she was only six, and she has also competed in Seniors and Masters competitions, favouring long jump, triple jump and sprinting. She competed in many State teams as well as in the Pacific School Games but in 2015 an injury resulted in her retiring from competition.
However, Kylie knew she still wanted to be involved in the sport she loved, and after being approached to become a coach she decided to give it a go. Her club, Western Athletics, assisted Kylie in paying for her coaching courses as well as providing all the equipment that was required. She has since attended Australian Institute of Sport training camps and learned from elite coaches in the Athletics Victoria Target Talent Program and the Athletics Australia Target Talent Program.
In her short coaching career Kylie has had State and National level success with her squad and wants to continue to coach elite jumpers (both females and males) in the hope that one day she can become a coach at an International level.
Those who have gone above and beyond to increase participation by girls and women and/or create an equal environment.
Werribee Juniors Cricket Club
Werribee Juniors Cricket Club (WJCC) has gone above and beyond in recent years to encourage girls’ participation in cricket. The club has established Under 11s and Under 13s girls’ teams over the last two years and in 2021 is planning to add an Under 16s team, which will create a seamless pathway for girls who want to play cricket into their teenage years.
Each new female that registers with the club receives a free helmet and free registration for their first year, plus a 50% discount on the registration fees for their second year. The club has a dedicated Girls Cricket Co-ordinator and Team Coach, and the progress of the girls’ cricket teams is discussed regularly within the club. WJCC also conducts all-girls training sessions and fields teams in all-girls competitions to create a safe and comfortable environment for girls to play and enjoy the game.
The club’s primary focus is getting girls to have fun and enjoy playing the game, and this year the WJCC Under 13 Girls’ team won the Molly Strano 2020 Cricket Competition – a massive effort by the girls’ team and coaches involved.
Wyndham Basketball Association
The Wyndham Basketball Association (WBA) prides itself on fostering an inclusive environment for women and girls. Starting at the top, the Association's Executive Board has 50% female representation and this positive influence filters through every facet of its operations. Alongside its two (out of five) female full-time staff, the Association provides equal representative opportunities to women and girls, runs girls’ only holiday programs and provides equal publicity for our elite female team.
To help more girls and women into elite teams, last year the WBA launched the Women’s Premier Division domestic competition, providing a competitive competition for women and girls striving to play at a higher level. The Association has also run a number of female coaching clinics to encourage more women and girls to join the coaching ranks.
The WBA’s elite representative team helped inspire the entire WBA community during the 2019 Big V season when it went on to win the championship (in its very first year in the top division).
Elite Performers: National Representatives
This category celebrates the girls and women who have worked to achieve excellence at national and international level inspiring others and raising the profile of Wyndham (past or present).
Jamieson Battistella – Western Athletics
After captaining her Little Athletics club for two years in a row, Jamieson Battistella progressed to the Seniors club, Western Athletics, where her journey to becoming the Under 20 Dual National Champion commenced.
In 2019 Jamieson scored a gold in the high jump, where she threw a 1.78 metre personal best, at the Under 20 Women’s Track and Field National Championships in Sydney. She also received and gold in the heptathlon, which resulted in four personal bests across the seven different track and field events and earned her a ticket to compete in the Oceania Games in Townsville where she represented Australia. Her successful streak continued here with another gold in the heptathlon and silver in the high jump.
Jamieson has since been offered a US athletic scholarship, and she is now studying at the University of Nebraska in America.
Western Athletics describes Jamieson as a “dedicated, friendly, and community-minded athlete who inspires others to enjoy their sport”. She also liked to help coach and mentor younger athletes around her and cheer her fellow team mates on at athletic competitions.
Stacey Peters (Keating) – Sanctuary Lakes Golf Club
Stacey Peters (Keating) first started playing golf when she was 12 years old, following her grandparents into the game. On deciding her future was in golf, she moved from Cressy to Sanctuary Lakes, where her coach Steven Giuliano prepared and inspired her to pursue a professional golf career.
Stacey is the most successful golfer – man or woman – that the club has produced, winning Australian and World Amateur titles and winning a Victorian Open.
During her seven years on tour as a Professional Golfer, Stacey won nine times (seven Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour wins and two Ladies European Tour Wins) and played on the LPGA Tour competing at the 2013 US Women’s Open. She is also the course record holder (for women) at Sanctuary Lakes, with an amazing score off 64 of the Championship Tee set up. She currently works within Golf Australia as Female Pathway Manager, and in this position is a lead advocate for women’s golf in Australia.
Maddy Rocci – Wyndham Basketball Association
Maddy Rocci has played her whole junior career with Wyndham Basketball Association, representing Wyndham in Domestic, Victorian Junior Basketball League, Big V, State, and National competitions. Her achievements are numerous, and include winning gold with the U18 Victoria Metro State team at the National Junior Championships 2015; making her international debut representing Australia at the U17 World Championships with the Sapphires in 2014; representing Australia with the Gems in the 2015 Oceania Championship where they took home gold; and again playing with the Gems in the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championship. In 2019 she won four gold medals at the State Championships and a gold medal at the World University Championships.
Maddy signed with the Canberra Capitals Women’s National Basketball League Team in 2017 and was a two-time Championship winner with the team in 2019 and 2020. She was selected for the Australian 2020 Senior National Women’s Opals Squad for the Tokyo Olympics. She has also received a scholarship to Basketball Australia’s Centre of Excellence.
According to the Wyndham Basketball Association, Maddy has been a role model and hero to many young players within the community and gives back through coaching and most recently through an Elite Player Performance program held via Zoom.
Teagan Newman – Western Athletics and Olympic Weightlifting
Teagan Newman is an Indigenous athlete who had early success in the hammer throw and discuss through Western Athletics, winning multiple State and National medals.
She first tried out weightlifting in 2013 as a way to strengthen her athletic development, before switching to competitive weightlifting in 2016. In 2017 she represented Victoria and won the Under 75kg class after lifting 137kg before representing Australia at the Commonwealth Oceania Junior Championships. She came home from those Championships with a silver medal in the junior Under 75kg category.
She has also competed at the National Championships in 2018 and 2019, successfully making the difficult cross over from junior to senior level and improving her standing each year. She also won bronze in the 2019 Arafura Games and currently holds the under 23-76kg National records.
Although only getting the chance to compete once this year she is currently ranked 2nd in the Senior -76kg category. Despite not being able to access the gym where she usually trains due to COVID-19, Teagan has kept up her gruelling six-day training regime as well as starting a new full-time job as a Dental Nurse. Teagan is hoping her dedication will lead her to her dream of representing Australia at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Amy Cashin – Western Athletics
Amy Cashin’s passion for athletics started at age 10, when she first competed for Werribee Little Athletics. She finished there as Centre Captain in 2008/09 before moving on to Western Athletics, competing in both the Track and Field and Cross Country seasons and winning numerous Junior Club Champion awards as well as winning State age divisions for Athletics Victoria Cross Country.
She was National and PanPac Champion in the Under 14 2000m Steeplechase, Uunder 16 3000m Champion and had three podium finishes at National Cross Country Championships. In 2013 she represented Australia at the Junior World Cross Country Championships.
Also in 2013 Amy went to West Virginia University (WVU) on a student/athlete scholarship. Four years later she earned WVU’s most prestigious student honour, The Order of Augusta. She has also earned multiple Big 12 Conference awards, three National National Collegiate Athletic Association All-American Track and Field honours, and the 2018 Google Cloud All American Track and Field/Cross Country First team and maintained a 4-point Grade Point Average. She has also supported many community groups and junior athletes.
WVU coach Sean Cleary said: "Words alone cannot describe Amy's leadership in helping guide not only our track and cross country programs, but more so the overall student-athlete experience at WVU.”