Participants of the 2019 Boorimul program were provided the unique opportunity to come together as young Indigenous women on the weekend.

The football program, delivered in partnership with AFL Victoria is a three-camp installment for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander female footballers.

As well as providing genuine pathways into the NAB League and VFLW the program supports cultural strengthening, leadership, health, education, and training employment pathways.

Participants travel from all over the state to the Swinburne Centre which serves as a hub for the likeminded youths to socialise and work on their football craft.

This year’s Boorimul head coach is former participant April Goldring who is now plying her trade for Footscray in the VFLW. She is being assisted by Richmond VFLW player, and another former Boorimul, Chey Macumber.

After a training session Saturday, Boorimul came up against a combined Victoria Country and Victoria Metro U/18s team on Sunday.

“We went into the game knowing it was going to be a learning curve, the aim was to learn and replicate,” Goldring said after the game.

“It was phenomenal to get to play against a team of emerging elite athletes, and the top players in the state.”

Greater Western Victoria’s Beth Hucker showed goalkicking ability for Boorimul while Juliette Townsend (Gippsland), Rose Stewart (Northern Knights) and Hailey George (South East) stood out.

“I think being able to play on Punt Road at the Swinburne Centre was the highlight of many of the girls’ weekends,” Goldring said.

“And just being able to pull on the Boorimul guernsey and play with an incredible bunch of community girls.”

Goldring added that the participants would form lifelong bonds from to the program.

“It’s so unique to get a group of young Indigenous women together to play on such a phenomenal oval and in front of all their friends and family,” she said.

“This is where the connections start, and they don’t end.”

As a celebration of culture, players performed a pre-game War Cry and painted their faces with ochre to display their different Koori heritages.

“It’s a unique and special feeling for them (to unite), opportunities like this don’t come around often, so when they do get it, they take it with both of their hands,” Goldring said.

“I think if you ask any of the girls, they will tell you this is something that means a lot to them.

“It’s great that they are able to come on programs like this which are supported so well and purely run by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people.”