Richmond forward Courtney Wakefield and defender Harriet Cordner will wear specially-designed Indigenous boots when they run out to play Geelong tomorrow night as part of the AFLW’s inaugural Indigenous round.
Wakefield’s boots have been designed by an aspiring young Indigenous footballer named Chantelle Mitchell.
Mitchell, who is no stranger to the Club, having graduated through the Korin Gamadji Institute’s Richmond Emerging Aboriginal Leadership (REAL) Program, said the round as a whole and Richmond’s involvement meant the world to her.
“It really means so much to me. It makes me feel so proud as a young Indigenous woman,” she added.
“I look up to all of the AFLW players and hope to make it myself one day. Seeing them encourages me to commit and try and get further with my footy.
“I love that the AFLW has an Indigenous round this year. It is fantastic to see cultures come together to share their stories.”
Mitchell, who hails from Mildura, which sits within the Richmond Next Generation Academy, said Wakefield (from Top Hut Station, 130km North of Mildura) is a role model to the entire Sunraysia community.
“Her story is amazing, coming from a small country town to now playing AFLW for Richmond. It is such an honour to have Courtney wear the boots I painted for her and to represent Sunraysia.”
Wakefield, who said the boots had “come up a treat,” explained a sense of pride in running out this weekend.
“After Michelle Kerrin spoke to us this week at training, we were all really proud to be the ones getting the opportunity to represent the Richmond Football Club and the Indigenous communities on Friday night,” she added.
“It is such a special occasion, the cultural significance behind the round is really important to understand and to hear Michelle speak to us about her story, and the story of the guernsey was goosebump kind of stuff.
“We all feel so proud; we will wear that jumper with pride and hopefully represent the culture really well and inspire that next generation of footballers.”
Shaun Thomas of Truwana Art has designed Cordner’s boots; their story represents family and people coming together in all ways and colours to unite.
The experienced defender will also auction off the specially designed boots to raise money for the Kiilalaana Warrior Within Program.
Kiilalaana is an Indigenous female youth empowerment program that has worked closely with KGI over several years.
“It is a real privilege to be a part of the first AFLW Indigenous round, and I felt like it was really important also to try and give back to the communities we are celebrating,” Cordner said.
“I have always loved this round in the men’s space, and it is so exciting to think we now have one in AFLW. I am lucky enough to be getting the opportunity to play in these Indigenous boots, so I think it is a great chance also to give something back.”
Details on the auction will be available via Harriet Cordner’s Instagram account @hcordner.