Women's champions, Jiinda Magic, demonstrated that winners are grinners after taking out the senior women's division in the Indigenous Football (Soccer) tournament held in North Lakes in November.
“Jiinda” means sister in the language of the Gumbaynggirr people from the Grafton region, also home to the founder of the club, Kirrily Philips. The team, now based in southeast Queensland is well-named, with the women (over 15s) playing the game for each other and for the team.
The Queensland-based Indigenous Football Tournament was established in 2018 and plays an important role in keeping developing Indigenous football stars connected and in touch.
The tournament at North Lakes attracted teams from as far away as remote Western Australia, Mornington Island and the Northern Territory, to showcase talented players in every grade, junior and senior.
Jiinda Magic’s team manager, Ramone Close said “the sisters” were absolutely ecstatic to come out on top of what is the premier Indigenous football competition in Australia.
“The Jiinda Magics and every other team really look forward to this competition every year,” Ramone said. “It’s a rare chance to meet friends old and new, and make new connections in the sport.”
The champion men's team for 2023 is the Sunshine Coast Goannas.
Football and AFL are both popular sports among First Nations girls aged four to 14, with only netball, swimming and basketball attracting more participants, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The weekend tournament took place in front of around 1500 spectators, including sharp-eyed talent scouts representing higher grades of football, at Kinsellas Sports Complex, North Lakes.
The event also featured various stalls, including a recruitment exhibit from the Australian Defence Forces, stalls manned by health department staff, and of course, food stalls.
The Kinsellas Sports Complex at Innovation Place is home to the North Lakes United Football Club, a product of the 2022 merger between the North Lakes Mustangs and the Lakes Football Club.