Women’s football pioneer nominated as NSW Local Hero

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“I want the pay to be better than the boys,” she laughed.”I’d like to see more women have a seat at the table in women’s football, whether it’s in administration or as elite athletes.”Ms Karra-Hassan said she was particularly proud of being a positive role model for women in sport.But does she feel like a local hero?”It’s a weird thing to say yes, but when I walk around the local community people always recognise me,” she said.”They pat me on the back and say: ‘We really love the football club, we really love what you do, keep being a positive ambassador for western Sydney and local communities.'”When that happens to you, sometimes not even in western Sydney, it speaks volumes.”Other NSW finalists for Australia’s Local Hero awards include palliative care innovator Meredith Dennis, farming aid coordinator Brendan Farrell and community volunteer Josephine Peter. Amna Karra-Hassan still remembers her first game of Australian Rules football.It was 2011, the newly established Auburn Tigers were playing their first game, and she had no idea what she was doing.”We played Sydney University and we got pumped at least 150 to nil,” Ms Karra-Hassan said.”We didn’t even know simple rules, they were telling us, ‘You can’t run there’.”We came off really happy but we thought, ‘Wow, we’re so out of our depth’.”Five years later Ms Karra-Hassan has overcome more than just the obstacles of getting tackled on the field. The 28-year-old is the co-founder and president of the Auburn Giants — formerly named the Auburn Tigers — and an ambassador for the Greater Western Sydney Giants national women’s team.She has also been named a New South Wales finalist in the 2017 Australia’s Local Hero awards.”It’s such a lovely surprise that someone went to the effort for the work I’ve done with the football club,” she said.”I love footy and what it’s been able to do for my life personally and what it does for the lives of the girls who play with us.”Ms Karra-Hassan grew up in western Sydney and is the eldest of six children.She works as a community engagement officer with the Australian Federal Police and regularly speaks in schools as a mentor.In 2012, she was nominated for the Young Women of the West Award and recognised for encouraging women, especially Muslim women, to get involved in AFL and sport.Overcoming footy politicsWhen she first became involved in women’s Aussie Rules, Ms Karra-Hassan said she had to deal with “a lot of politics and pushbacks about whether football was a space for women”.However the game has since “moved forward” at a rapid pace.The GWS Giants are one of eight foundation teams to start the AFL national women’s league next year, while Ms Karra-Hassan said pay discussions were underway for professional female AFL athletes. The story of the Auburn Giants Watch how Amna Karra-Hassan and the Auburn Giants climbed to the top of the ladder in this ABC Compass episode.
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Amanda Hoh


October 20, 2016 14:57:30

Amna Karra-Hassan encourages women from all backgrounds to get involved in sport. (Supplied: Amna Karra-Hassan)