SAINTS: The South Burnett Saints have gone from a team with no AFL experience to one of the regions leading women's teams. (Picture: Tristan Evert)
SAINTS: The South Burnett Saints have gone from a team with no AFL experience to one of the regions leading women's teams. (Picture: Tristan Evert)

From AFL rookies to united club

In a region dominated by rugby league, AFL was still a new game in 2015 and for majority of players in the South Burnett it was a brand-new game.

The South Burnett Saints women's AFL team formed in 2015 and among them was one player who had played before.

The remaining 21 were donned with a huge task, figuring out a game they had not only never played, but also never watched.

Among those players was Kathy Shick, a black belt in mixed martial arts who manages to find time for footy with seven kids.

Shick said it has been amazing how the club has grown over the years.

"To have more legs on the field each year and have some of the younger girls coming through has just been amazing," Shick said.

"For most of us AFL was still very fresh and right from that first tackle you know if it's for you.

"The black belt was another thing for me to try and conquer and having five girls, self-defence as a female was massive for me."

Two more players who remain with the Saints is mother daughter duo Reanna and Natalie Fenton.

 

ORIGINALS: Reanna Fenton, Kathy Schick, Natalie Fenton and Angie O'Brien have all been with the Saints since they formed in 2015. (Picture: Tristan Evert)
ORIGINALS: Reanna Fenton, Kathy Schick, Natalie Fenton and Angie O'Brien have all been with the Saints since they formed in 2015. (Picture: Tristan Evert)

Natalie said for a bunch of women that knew nothing about AFL out here was just crazy.

"When we first started there was one girl from Toowoomba who had played before but for the rest of us, we were working it out as we went," Fenton said.

"In the first couple of years we had a lot of interest from people in the community and we even had enough players to lend to other teams at games.

"It has been incredible to watch the players develop and it's really awesome playing with my daughter."

Reanna said it was difficult to start a new code out here when everyone is so rugby league and soccer orientated.

"After a really successful first year we dropped off a little and now the club is really starting to grow again," Fenton said.

"All areas of the club are growing and it has really developed into a huge family.

"Women's sport is heading in a positive direction and is providing a lot of women with opportunities to develop and progress in sport."

Another original Saint is Angie O'Brien who said ALF was the first sport she played.

"Before joining the Saints back in 2015 I had never played sport before," O'Brien said.

"I think it's important to see more women in male dominated sports to show girls they can do anything.

"Seeing how far the club has come and how much my teammates improve week in week out is inspiring."

The South Burnett Saints women's team train Wednesday 5:30pm at Lyle Vidler Oval in Kingaroy with new players always welcome.

Read more inspiring stories as part of our 2020 South Burnett International Women's Day feature here