BENTLEY LEADING THE WAY ON AND OFF THE FIELD

By Melissa Marsh

East Fremantle star footballer, Kirby Bentley, will be back in action for the Sharks in 2012 when the season starts in April.

Once an accomplished netballer, in 2009 a family tragedy struck and it reminded this talented athlete of the importance of family. She decided to be closer to her sister Ashleigh, who was playing for the Sharks at the time; this is how her love for football came about.

A country kid from Mt Barker she has now represented the big stage at WA [State] and Australian levels of her beloved sport football and also in her younger days of playing netball; she was a West Coast Fever member and All Australian Junior representative.

There is no doubt that representing your state and country would have been one of Kirby’s most outstanding achievements in her career to date but the most rewarding is her time spent with the David Wirrpanda Foundation. Kirby spends her time away from training and game days working at the foundation as a Role Model for young Indigenous children.

“Being a leader in the community is important in any aspect but as an Indigenous role model/leader for the next generation is empowering for our kids growing up making change for the better.”

The David Wirrpanda foundation commenced their operations in 2005 and as Kirby states: “the best part about being a role model is being able to have the positive influence in these young Aboriginal children’s lives.”

Now, she is well into pre-season preparing for another Premiership with the Sharks. Confident that they can go back to back she claims the Coastal Titans and Swan Districts to be their biggest threat to stand in their way.

She will again share the duties of leadership this year being named Co-Captain alongside team veteran Stephanie Walding. Kirby shows the on field leadership skills better than most but admits that leadership can be tough.

“The most difficult part of leadership is leading by example all the time, on and off the field. There are responsibilities and ownership of my team, even when it’s not my fault.

Keen to continue learning about leadership there is no doubt that her role with the David Wirrpanda foundation provides Kirby with a strong education in mentoring, culture and hardship, all of which she can apply to her football.

On the field Kirby states that her passion is to see how good she can be, to continue to work on her fitness and building on her weakness.

With already so much achieved by this modest, multi talented sports star you can feel the energy that she brings to the field.

Keep up to date with the team on Twitter @eastfreosharks and via www.eastfreosharks.com.au.

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