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Kurdas' love for Australian Rules

Jacqui Reed  September 10, 2013 10:29 AM

Chyloe Kurdas developed a love for Australian Rules football from her father Eddy, a Turkish Immigrant.

Her childhood is filled with memories of supporting Richmond with her dad, the team he adopted after settling in Melbourne in 1969.

That influence saw her love of the sport blossom.

"I loved my dad as a little girl, and I just wanted to be like him and follow in his footsteps," Kurdas said.

"He very quickly learned that if you want to get to know people in the Australian culture and community that you connect to the game of Australian football.

"Richmond were very successful in the '60s and '70s so he ended up barracking for Richmond - I ended up following him."

Years later she is working hard to make football more accessible for women in her role as the AFL Victoria Female Football Development Manager.

Her leadership has seen a dramatic growth in female football, with nearly 25,000 women and girls now involved in football in Victoria.

Kurdas's hard work has been recognized with a nomination for the 2013 Football Woman of the Year Award.

"My job is essentially to take what we do for boys and men and duplicate it for girls and women, and provide them with equal opportunity to access the game," she said.

"Women have flocked to the game since day dot. I've read a lot of stuff about the history of the game and very early recollections of big games played, the crowd littered with women.

"Women were some of the most vocal cheerers. The word 'barracker', you know, some of the women were the most fervent 'barrackers'. Women have loved the game since day one.

"It's a lovely responsibility to have. It's a great privilege to be in the role, to be the person in charge of doing that in Victoria, but at the same time, it's a very big responsibility, because we have to do it right."

Kurdas' passion for the game runs deep, and she revels in the fact that Australian football is so accessible.

"There's just something about Australian football that is unlike any other sport that I've ever played. It really is a game for everyone," she said.

"You can be tall, short, fast, slow, fat or skinny and there's a role for you on the field. There are very few games that provide someone who's my height at 5'1 and someone that's 6'5 to play the game and make an equal contribution.

"I think that's a lovely metaphor for life. The thing that really draws me to the game is that it really spruiks the values of our lives, as a community, that we all have strengths, we just need to bring them to the table, and complement each other with those things."