Ramadan no obstacle to the Auburn Giants women’s AFL team

They’re the women’s AFL team from western Sydney who have won six of their last seven games. Earlier this month they played the curtain-raiser at the MCG.

Different girls react differently. Some die, they want to drink or eat. Some just play football.
Auburn Giants player Amna Karra-Hassan

And with about two-thirds of the team from a Muslim background, they’re not letting Ramadan slow them down.

“We’ll be playing our first game fasting this weekend. I’ve played fasting every year,” said founding player of the Auburn Giants team Amna Karra-Hassan.

“I love it. Different girls react differently. Some die, they want to drink or eat. Some just play football. I’m one of the ones saying, ‘Let’s get on with it, let’s play footy’,” she said.

Founded in 2011, the Giants have a squad of about 30. The players come from many backgrounds, with Middle Eastern, Asian, Anglo-Australian and European women all part of the team.

Karra-Hassan said Ramadan was about discipline and that could be tested on the field.

“You’re on the football field when you’re hungry, thirsty, playing a competitive sport. So it’s the added challenge of, can you refrain from drinking, eating, losing your cool. Can you keep playing as a team and a unit,” she said.

What’s more, the team make no changes to their training or game plan during Ramadan, continuing twice-weekly training sessions and normal games.

In mid-June, the team opened for the Giants-Collingwood game at the MCG. But despite the grand stage, newer player Mandy Fung wasn’t intimidated.

“Everyone laughs at me because I got there and I thought, this field is really small. I thought, this isn’t much bigger than Mona Park, and I’m at Mona Park every week,” she said.

“It was a very good atmosphere because all the people who had come to watch were there with a purpose and were sitting right near the field. We could hear cheering, we could hear gasps. It was amazing.”

The sport looks set to grow for women in western Sydney, with a junior Auburn team for girls aged 12-17 launching this year, and senior Moorebank and Blacktown teams forming in the past two years.

Karra-Hassan said it was important to develop pathways for young women to get into sport in the west.

“If we’re able to establish ourselves as an institution in Auburn, and people love playing, we can ensure it’s sustainable as a football club. That’s the biggest goal for the next couple of years,” she said.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/ramadan-no-obstacle-to-the-auburn-giants-womens-afl-team-20150624-ghwayl.html#ixzz3peGFvjrr

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