Future lawyer among Yeronga ranks

Selina Puruntatameri’s story is one of courage, commitment, and talent.

The 21 year old, who is currently studying a Bachelor of Justice, left her Darwin home at just 16 years old to focus on her studies, and chase her dream.

Footy has always been a part of Puruntatameri’s life.

“I think when I started walking, my cousins boyfriend taught me how to play the game,” Puruntatameri said.

“I used to hang out with a lot of boys when I was younger, I was a bit of a tomboy, I started playing with dolls, but footy took over.”

It was during high school that her love for the game blossomed.

From year eight I always had a footy in my hand, and I couldn’t wait to play my first senior footy game in Darwin when I turned 16.

That game was with St Mary’s, a club that most of Selina’s family played for.

Her natural talent was there for all to see.

At the end of year nine, she was faced with a life changing decision.

She had to choose between staying home, which was Melville Island in Darwin, or focusing on her education by moving to Queensland.

“When I was little I used to dream of becoming a police officer, and I’ve always wanted to have a law degree, so I’ve had that as a goal since when I was in primary school,” she said.

“When I grew up, I didn’t want to become a police officer, I wanted to become something more. So I decided to study justice and law and see where I can go from there.

“I knew that having an education away from home would help that, it would help me focus.”

Moving away from her entire family at such a young age was a brave thing to do.

At times, it wasn’t easy, but with her family back home on her mind, she pushed through the barriers.

“I was homesick every week, every day,” Puruntatameri said.

“I stuck it out and didn’t want to disappoint anyone in my family, especially my Dad and Mum.

“It was different, the school was huge, it was a different environment, but I stuck it out and finished it.”

Her parents, especially her Dad, have been behind her the whole way, constantly pushing Selina to achieve what she is capable of.

“I thought (Dad) was very pushy, but I understand now where he is coming from, he wants the best for me,” she said.

Overcoming her homesickness, she graduated year 12 in 2011, becoming the first Tiwi Islander at the school to do so.

“The school in Toowoomba, there were other Tiwi kids here who paved the way for me, but homesickness got to them so they went home,” Puruntatameri said.

After graduating, Puruntatameri moved back to Darwin to do a bridging course in order to build up her credits towards a University degree. It wasn’t the right location for her to be in at the time.

“I got distracted because you’re too close to everything,” she said.

She moved to Ipswich for a year, before enrolling in a justice course at TAFE in Brisbane.

After completing her diploma at the end of 2014, she was accepted into a Bachelor of Justice at QUT.

Due to her previous work, she was credited a year of the degree before even starting, and she is loving it.

“It’s a lot of readings but I’m enjoying the challenge,” Puruntatameri said.

After settling into her degree, it meant she could return to the game she loves.

“I have always wanted to get back into footy; I missed it a lot, so I just wanted to play again,” she said.

“I first went to training at Yeronga, once I got there I felt really good, I hadn’t felt like that in a long time.”

She has stared for Yeronga this year, her footballing talent is undeniable.

She has already racked up two best on ground performances in just five rounds.

As for the future, Selina still has her eyes set on what driven her all these years.

“I still want to get a law degree, so after I finish justice hopefully I will transfer into law, and work in a firm or somewhere while I’m studying,” she said.

Darwin will always be home, but she wants to get a few years of work in Brisbane under her belt before she goes back.

“I’ve always planned to work down here for a little bit, and then eventually go back to Darwin to work,” Puruntatameri said.

Most will see Puruntatameri running around in the red and black on a Saturday, and see a terrific young footballer.

Hopefully now they will understand what a brave, smart, and determined person she is as well.

By Andrew Wiles – @andrewjwiles

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