ariana and kalinda


QLD Trainees and rising footy stars, Arianna Clarke and Kalinda Howarth have recently been named in the AFL Women’s Under 18 All Australian Squad. They have been selected along with 52 other young guns to play in the curtain-raiser to the NAB AFL Women's State of Origin match at Etihad Stadium.

For both women, AFL plays a major role in their lives from playing the sport since childhood to now working in the industry, thanks to their traineeships. 

Arianna Clarke, 17, is currently working at AFL Queensland (AFLQ) while studying a Certificate III in Sport and Recreation.

‘I love working at AFLQ, and immersing myself in the industry as much as I can and that’s exactly what the traineeship has allowed me to do,’ said Arianna.

‘In my role I get to run Auskick programs with kids ranging from 5 to 12 years old. I also get heaps of guidance from the AFL coaches and staff at AFLQ who are always willing to help me with my work and give me tips about footy.’

Aside from her traineeship and playing footy, Arianna is completing her final year of high school and training full-time at the gym. She hopes to one day become a professional AFL Women’s (AFLW) Football player and Sports Dietician.

‘Being selected in the squad felt like a dream come true. I feel like it’s definitely a big step toward achieving my future aspirations of getting drafted to the Brisbane Lions AFLW team.’

Kalinda Howarth, 18, is a young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander completing her traineeship with Gold Coast Suns and is studying a Certificate IV in Sport and Recreation.

‘I am extremely humbled and excited to have been named in the All-Australian Squad. It means a lot in terms of my personal goals as well as my football career goals,’ said Kalinda.

Her managers and colleagues at the football club are understanding of her playing commitments and support her in both her work and football journey. In her role at the Suns, Kalinda is responsible for assisting with community programs.

‘I help deliver our school programs SHINE and Multicultural Leadership Program (MLP). As well as working with our community academies Jarrod Harbrow Leadership Academy (JHLA) and Saad Squad (Multicultural Academy)
,’ she explained.

'I have always been passionate about sport, and could only ever see myself working in and around the industry, so I’m very lucky to have been given the opportunity to have my traineeship here at the Gold Coast SUNS.’

Like Arianna, Kalinda also hopes to one-day play women’s AFL football professionally.

‘In five years’ time I hope to be playing AFLW with the dream of it being a full-time job. However career wise I am loving my position here at the SUNS and would hope I would still be here working my way up, potentially managing a Community team.’

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DATE: 21st of August 2017

AUTHOR: Marissa Pagliarello

IMAGE: Arianna (left) and Kalinda (right)

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