Mt Gravatt ‘home’ for volunteer Kate

By Ellie Grounds

For AFL aficionado Kate Guy, it has indeed been a lifelong journey to becoming a life member at Mt Gravatt Football Club.

When her family first came to the club back in 1967, there were no real opportunities for girls to get involved, but that hasn’t been a hindrance to Kate becoming a wealth of knowledge for the club and a role model for all women in football.

As an eight-year-old, Kate would watch on as her brothers trained.

“Obviously I wasn’t allowed to play in those days, so as I got older I started running water, being goal umpire – that sort of thing,” she said.

“I think we had an annual ladies game, so I think when I was about 13, I started playing in that.”

At the age of 15, Kate started coaching the junior boys team and continued to do so on and off for 10 years.

Despite her brothers leaving the club and moving to Melbourne to play footy, Kate continued at Mt Gravatt.

“This has been a part of my life for a long time. There’s been opportunities to go to other clubs and do other things, but I suppose this has always been my home.”

Kate had about 20 years away from the club, focussing on her family. Then, four years ago, Kate got a call saying Mt Gravatt had their first official girls team.

“I got the call, so I thought, ‘Well, I’ll come back,’ and I started coaching the girls. I coached them for two years.

“They started off with an U15 side, and expanded to have an U18 team the following year.

“I think the first year we had about 15 [girls] or so, and up to 20-odd the second year.

“We had girls coming from everywhere. I had girls that were down here in college from the Tiwi Islands come and play here. We were just the closest club for them to come and play, which was great because Mt Gravatt – years ago – we had guys from the Tiwi Islands come and play here.

“Girls came from Warwick for each game. They’d leave about six in the morning to get here for a game, and car pool.”

Unfortunately, many of the girls had to give away playing football to focus on study commitments, and Mt Gravatt hasn’t been able to get enough female players together to form a team since.

But Kate has continued both her involvement at the club and her support of women’s football.

“I’ve been on the committee since I’ve been back at the club, and I was made a life member last year from the guys.

“Some of [the girls] are still playing around the place, so it’s great to see them still being involved. I tried to encourage them to stay involved or get involved in coaching, and also back their ability to take it as far as they can with the pathway in women’s footy for the young girls.”

For Kate, watching girls being given the opportunity to fully participate in AFL is a positive reminder of how far the sport has come. 

She cherished being able to watch the 2014 AFL Women’s Draft live, and watching the girls play on the MCG last year.

“I suppose that was my dream when I was a teenager – I wasn’t a bad footballer myself, but didn’t have the opportunities. To see the opportunities and the skill that these girls have got is just awesome.

 “I know a lot of the girls now because a couple of years ago when Julia Price was over with the women’s team she asked me to be manager of the Brisbane U16 team to go to Cairns.

“So, now, I can go to watch any female footy game and I know players there, which is awesome being able to watch their progress.

“That was my big thing about coming back to the footy – was getting involved in women’s footy.”

Kate remains optimistic about Mt Gravatt getting a women’s team back on the field.

“We’ve been trying. Hopefully even next year we’ll get some more girls back playing,” she said.

“The QAFL is trying really hard to get it out there and I think we need to just keep trying and get the girls, because once they get out there, they love it.

“It’s a great game. And like any team sport, it’s the mateship and all that, same as the boys.

“Just when you see the excitement on their faces – to see them being able to kick and hit targets and overhead marks and all that sort of stuff, and lay a tackle and run and bounce the ball. They love it when they learn how to do it.”

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