Our Game: Women’s stories shaping sport - Rylee Alderton

By Tyler Maher

McPherson Media Group has partnered with Valley Sport to bring you Our Game: Women's Stories Shaping Sport highlighting the brilliant, and often under-appreciated, contributions females of the region make to their local sporting clubs and organisations, on and off the field.

Each week a different district female athlete, leader or champion will be highlighted — so make sure you contact The News or Valley Sport to nominate those around you to be profiled in the series.

This week, Nagambie's Rylee Alderton is featured.

Rylee Alderton has achieved plenty in her six years at Nagambie Football Netball Club, but there is one highlight that sticks out above the rest — her first premiership as an 18-year-old in A-grade in 2015.

"It was such a thrill to get the chance to be able to play in a premiership team alongside my sister-in-law," Alderton said.

The mum-of-two has also juggled the roles of committee member, assistant coach and team manager across the journey — along with her "Little Lakers" Noah (three) and Eadie (one) — and is proud of her efforts as a leader at the club.

"Being a leader is about inspiring others to get involved and inspiring them to be leaders themselves," Alderton said.

"This ensures you are setting up a successful pathway for the next generation of leaders.

"It's also important to note that I feel like no matter what age you are you can be a leader and age shouldn’t be a factor stopping you from having a go.

"It was clear the club was struggling to keep up and evolve (when I got there), so I got involved to help recruit more committee members with me which led to us being able to help with things like bringing in more sponsorship and funding to help our club become more sustainable."

Through the current coronavirus pandemic Alderton has found keeping active and keeping her children entertained go hand in hand.

"Being outside with the kids doing fun things like kicking the footy, dancing and riding bikes as well as doing the never-ending housework (is how we've been keeping active)," she said.

"Just going outside and enjoying the fresh air as well, obviously it is hard with the kids, but I like to go for a walk once they have gone to bed."

Across her time in sport — Alderton first played netball competitively in her early teens — she has also seen how gender inequality affects herself and those around her.

"When only the men are getting paid to play footy it’s tough," she said.

"I know that's how it's always been, but the women playing netball are still having to pay so much just to be involved."

Alderton would make an immediate change in Kyabram District League — and indeed other netball leagues in the region — to help accommodate women and girls more smoothly into the sport.

"The inclusion of a designated welcoming officer who was supported by the league would really help to get more women to stay involved at the club," she said.