By Beth Newman
Capricornia was one of the most improved sides in the recent Youth Girls state Championships and few were more excited about that than Tashina Ketchup.
Ketchup, in her third year at the State Champs, played for the Cobras in their championships debut last year, where they went winless through their matches.
A year later, they found themselves in the Division Two grand final, an amazing turnaround for the girls from the Capricornia region.
“We’ve come a long way this year,” she said.
“It means so much to me, since losing all our games last year and this team has just pushed itself so much through the championships.”
Having come through the ranks in the youth girls program, Ketchup said she was relishing being one of the leaders in the side, at 16.
“It’s been really good fun (playing in the champs), I’ve been able to play with all these older girls and then moving up and being one of the older players, it’s really good,” she said.
That leadership is something she has been working to improve as she edges closer to open women’s eligibility.
“I’m really looking to become more of a leader to the younger people in the side,” she said.
Ketchup was also a member of the Queensland female KickStart team, for Indigenous players, earlier this year, with her performance earning her a spot in the national squad, the Woomeras.
The Cathedral College student said she cherished the opportunity to play in that carnival earlier this year.
“It was really good to represent my culture,” she said.
“You get to meet all the other people from all these different areas that you know or have heard about.”
In Rockhampton, Ketchup plays women’s’ footy, and said the transition to the youth girls, played on a full-sized field, was another challenge.
“It’s (youth girls) a lot faster and you get to play on a big field and in women’s you play on a modified field, so it’s a big step up.”