Riley-Brown’s take sisterly bond to Byron Bay
Sisters, Ruby and Nakira Riley-Brown this week represented AFL NSW/ACT in the Indigenous Kickstart team at the second annual AFL Female Diversity Championships in Byron Bay.
This is the second Female Diversity Championships for the Kuku Yalungi and Gamilaroi women, who played in the inaugural competition, saying they are proud to be representing AFL NSW/ACT again, as well as their community at the week-long event.
“It’s pretty amazing reading through the draws and thinking about the fact I’m playing against people who live hours away, and that I’d probably never get the chance to meet if I didn’t play footy,” says Nakira.
Reflecting upon last year’s experience, Nakira says that she not only became good friends with her teammates, but also with people she was playing against.
“I’ve met some great friends from Tasmania and from Broken Hill, all over the place, and I love that I met them doing something I love,” she said.
Less than a year apart, Ruby (14) and Nakira (15) first began playing AFL three years ago.
While they both played a variety of sports growing up, it was not until they moved next door to an AFL field that they began playing with the Ainslie Football Club. Soon, the sisters were playing in the local Youth Girls competition, at the young ages of 12 and 13.
Nakira, being 13 at the time, was one of the youngest players in the team.
“Being with girls that had the age and experience, I felt [there] was a lot of pressure to do well and I had to learn fast,” Nakira said.
Despite this, it was their strong sisterly bond that transformed them into two of the most talented and promising female players coming out of the ACT.
“We play really well together and I feel it has strengthened our relationship, because footy is something we both love, and playing with my sister makes me try harder as we are both competitive people,” Nakira said.
Nakira says that playing AFL is something so close to her heart, that it is all she wants to do.
“Thinking about to the fact I could be able to play with some really talented football players motivates me. I’ve met so many amazing people and friends through football.
“I’m just proud of how far women’s football has come and to be part of it feels great.”