Sports Journalist Student, Garry McSweeney reports on Kate Misson from Morningside AFC for a paper for his degree at Griffith University
Women’s AFL doesn’t get the coverage that it deserves.
If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t agree with this then you’ll probably want to skip this page, however if you do agree then you should get along well with Kate Misson.
Kate, 23, works as a regional coordinator for the Brisbane City Cobras touch football squad and she was recently selected by AFL Queensland to be the new face for women’s AFL.
She started playing AFL when she was 15, has played at a national level, and she’s done plenty of press conferences and newspaper interviews.
She’s the first to admit that the promotion of women’s AFL has been lacking: “It’s been a bit slack but we’ve been working on posters and brochures to get women’s AFL to the forefront”
Kate plays for the Morningside Wildcats; she used to play ruck but now she’s mainly in the position of centre due to having surgery on her wrist.
“I love getting to play all over the field so it keeps me entertained rather than waiting for the ball to come down to me.”
Playing with the Wildcats, Kate trains twice a week but in the pre-season period she’ll often train three times a week. It’s a busy life but she clearly loves it.
Just because it’s women’s AFL, it doesn’t mean the players hold back; it’s very competitive and everyone plays to win. It’s very physical and very full on.
Kate’s passionate and doesn’t believe that women’s sport gets the credence it deserves: “Especially in a sport like AFL, it’s a bit frowned upon..obviously we’re girls and we’re not given much support in certain areas. It can be a real negative point when you’re not supported by certain members of the public and even by people within the AFL”
Kate hopes to change this with her role as figurehead for women’s AFL
She believes there’s not much difference between men and women’s football; there’s always a great sense of sportsmanship and the passion to play is strong, regardless of whether it’s men’s or women’s AFL being played.
“If you go and watch a guys game and a girls game – they are pretty similar in the way they’re played and the passion that all the team members have towards that game”
Despite the physical nature of the game, Kate wants to keep playing for as long as possible. She says “When I started [playing with the Wildcats] one of the girls was 35 so I want be like that; still playing in five years time.”
Seeing as Kate’s only 23, she has plenty of years in the game ahead of her.
Kate’s mum, Jill Misson, is immensely proud of her youngest daughter being an ambassador for women’s AFL. She believes that because of Kate’s background working for the AFL , Kate knows exactly what’s going on.
Between the ages of six and thirteen, Kate had a number of operations on her wrist due to a condition that she’s still receiving treatment for.
Jill says “She [Kate] always had this peaceful air about her as a child; she’s special…very relaxed and very mellow”
Despite having a mother’s bias, Jill reckons Kate has the ability to really push and promote women’s AFL because “whatever Kate does, she puts her whole heart and soul into getting the job done right”
Jill was involved with the Cairns Junior Footbal Association, and seeing her sister and brother playing sports fired Kate’s imagination and she just had to get involved.
On Kate as a child, Jill says “She was very laid back but didn’t like rules and regulations. She went to school only because she had to but she would only do the bare minimum and nothing else.”
Her mum says “She’s very independent but she wouldn’t have got the job if she hadn’t got what it takes”.
You could call her a rebel but Kate’s buckled down and put in the hard yards to get where she wants to be. Her current job as a touch football coordinator requires her to report to the state government every three months so she has to be on the ball.
It’s a male dominated area but Kate won’t be pushed around by the old guard.
She says “You just have to get in there and do the work. If people see the work’s getting done, they realise that you’re the right one for the job. If there are obstacles, you just have to find a way around them. It’s just part of the job and you work with what you’ve got”
Jill says that Kate’s a great tactician and she’s diplomatic too – she knows when to keep quiet. It’s this ability to strike a balance that makes her popular with her team-mates.
Kate has a great respect for others and she gets that respect back in spadefuls.
Despite Kate’s popularity, Jill was adamant that she didn’t want her daughter portrayed as “up herself”; it’s a striking example of family keeping Kate’s feet firmly on the ground.
Not that Kate needs any help with that. But she might need to prepare for a long haul to get women’s AFL firmly jammed in the public eye.
Amanda Lucas, a sports journalist for the Courier Mail says “Female athletes are just as talented in their own right but it’s just how society portrays women athletes. I don’t think it’s a case of male versus female…it’s just that traditionally sport is a masculine thing. It’s hard to change something that’s been the way it has for so long, and various sports are improving with media coverage, sponsorships and audience awareness but is a very slow change”
“It’s great that we’ve got some great female athletes who juggle a career, and some have children. For teenage girls in particular, to look up to these women who are very healthy, fit and confident. I think they’re brilliant role models. They often offer a great perspective on how to deal with real life.”
Kate Misson ticks all the boxes.
Women’s AFL may not be getting the coverage it deserves but Kate’s doing her best to change that.