In a historic moment for AFL in New Zealand, former Fremantle Dockers player Kim Mickle will become the first Female head coach of the Christchurch Bulldogs Men’s AFL team for the 2019 season.
Having relocated to Christchurch in 2017, Mickle is not only an AFL player but has also represented Australia at the Olympics and Commonwealth Games in Javelin.
She won the gold medal at the 2001 World Youth Championships, finished ninth at the 2002 World Junior Championships, fourth at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, fifth at the 2006 IAAF World Cup and sixth at the 2009 World Athletics Final.
Mickle took the silver medal at the 2013 World Championships in Athletics reaching a result of 66.60 m (PB) and in 2014, she won the gold medal at the Commonwealth games with a throw of 65.96 meters.
In September 2016, Mickle signed to play for the Fremantle Football Club in the inaugural season of AFL Women’s in 2017.
“I grew up with AFL but unfortunately there weren’t any female leagues and it was apparently to “rough” to play with the boys, so I was forced to pick another sport. Luckily that worked out rather well for me. I’ve been to 2 Olympics and a few Commonwealth Games/World Champs for Javelin and had an absolute ball doing it but unfortunately had a rather bad injury 2016 and had to retire.”
The Bulldogs have recently commenced pre-season training and Mickle has been impressed early on.
“I have already had a few sessions with the Bulldogs and they’re a great bunch of guys. I think we can all learn and grow together and most importantly have a few laughs on the way.”
Her motivation behind getting involved with AFL in New Zealand was quite simple.
“When I found out that there was an AFL league in Christchurch, I was first to put my hand up and get involved.”
“I love the sport and just want to help others here realise that there’s another contact ball sport that they can play that helps with fitness, coordination and team play.”
With a focus on the Female development over the next three years, AFL New Zealand will look to support Kim in her coaching role to help inspire the next generation of AFL players.
“AFLW in Australia is pumping and the amount of young girls now playing footy down at local parks is just a really cool thing to see. When I was young there was no such think as a girls team and it was to rough for girls to play with the boys but that has all changed. I hope NZ can continue to develop AFL so other young girls can have another sport they can play.”
“It’s so amazing to see the increase of funding and exposure that women’s sport is now getting but to potentially have another option (like AFL) for girls to try and hopefully fall in love with, several more doors might open.”
The Canterbury AFL season kicks off on August 24th. For more information on the league, head to www.cafl.co.nz