Having graduated from Caulfield in 2010 Belle Connor was more used to playing soccer than footy but decided to give it a go when the Caulfield Grammarians’ Football Club (CGFC) launched a women’s team in 2017. Perhaps another event that inspired this change of code was a visit by legendary Richmond coach, Tommy Hafey. “He came to speak at one of our year 12 tutorials. His attitude to life in general, and life beyond football, is something I have never experienced from another person before. His speech will stay with me forever and that is why I wear the number 18”, Bell says. [Tommy wore the number 18 guernsey throughout his 67-game playing career at Richmond 1953-58.]
Currently a rover for the CGFCW Reserves side Belle Connor is amazed at how far she and her team mates have come over the last two seasons.
“The change has been incredible. When we first started a lot of us hadn’t ever really played a full game of footy. The club has worked really hard to support us with training and coaching”.
A great aspect of the CGFC is how all the different teams back one another. Belle believes it’s important for men to support women in AFL by “pitching in, getting involved and being positive role models”. For instance, the men’s teams often come to the women’s games to cheer them on, and there has been combined training sessions and social events. This support has been invaluable for Belle and the team, who due to the infancy of women’s AFL, have had much less time to develop their skills.
Despite the challenges involved CGFCW continues to grow with the possibility of fielding a third team next year. As more and more young girls and parents get involved AFL is slowly losing its label of being a boy’s sport. To anyone thinking about getting involved in the club Belle says “come down and give it a go, it is a lot of fun and there is no pressure if you have not played before, we are all still learning! CGFC gives you a great opportunity to stay connected with the school and make great life-long friends in the process, whilst also reconnecting with old friends.”
There are also exciting opportunities within the club for the development of teamwork and leadership skills that can benefit you in other spheres of your life. Belle finds that these skills translate well into her work as an Emergency Department Nurse. “I love working in a team with like-minded colleagues who are all committed to the same cause”. Having wanted to be a nurse her whole life Belle is enjoying taking each challenging and rewarding day in the ER as it comes.
5 Minutes with Belle Connor
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time?
I hope to still be loving what I do every day and furthering my knowledge and study.
Best memory of CGS & CGA?
School Camps at Yarra Junction, especially Jackie’s cooking.
What would you tell your 17-year-old self?
Life is just beginning.
What’s one thing you wish other people knew about Caulfield?
Caulfield is more than just a school and goes far beyond a classroom, there is something for everyone and this doesn’t end once you have finished school.
What’s your superpower/spirit animal and why?
A whale — because I avoid drama, follow my own truth, I am in touch with reality and have strong bonds and emotional ties with those who I am close to.