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Female family figures the driving force behind Janz

It’s fair to say that Fremantle ruckwoman Alicia Janz wasn’t gifted her spot on Fremantle’s AFLW list.

The former netballer missed out on a place in Fremantle’s initial squad ahead of the inaugural season but her impressive efforts at training as a ‘top up’ player saw her make her debut and play three games in 2017.

Janz went on to start all seven games in 2018 where she led the club for hitouts. At the end of the season she was rewarded with a contract for 2019.

Janz was also recently recognised for her efforts on and off the field, acknowledged as the 2018 Perth NAIDOC Sportsperson of the Year at an awards ceremony at Crown Towers in June.

“I’ve lived most of my life in WA and it’s an honour to be recognised by the WA Indigenous community, where I started my sporting journey,” Janz said.

Off the field, the 28-year-old works with school-aged girls to help bring up a generation of proud Indigenous women as a part of the ‘Deadly Sista Girlz’ program with the Wirrpanda Foundation.

It’s that same sense of pride Janz had inherited from the women in her life, particularly her sister and mother.

It’s a theme central to this year’s NAIDOC week, which is acknowledging the important roles played by Indigenous women.

“This year’s theme is ‘because of her we can’,” Janz said.

“I think women have played a huge role in supporting families, especially with our history with a lot of men being removed from communities.

“I guess it’s that recognition of the role our ancestors played to help us to get to where we are.”

Janz’s sister Josie also works with Janz and had a successful nine-year career playing netball for the West Coast Fever.

“I’ve got my sister who also plays netball and she has been a huge influence on my sporting journey,” Janz said. 

“She’s making sure that I’m always challenging myself to do more and be more.

“Obviously there’s also my Mum, who’s taught me how to be resilient and being proud of my heritage.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs