Youth girls football keeping sometimes homesick Maraltadj happy

Ballarat Football League youth girls players wearing the Big for Country Victoria:   Nickesha Jones, left,  Hayley Smith, Amy McDonald, Emma Lynch, Letisha Maraltadj and Nikkita Alexander. Photo: Lachlan Bence

Ballarat Football League youth girls players wearing the Big for Country Victoria: Nickesha Jones, left, Hayley Smith, Amy McDonald, Emma Lynch, Letisha Maraltadj and Nikkita Alexander. Photo: Lachlan Bence

WHEN Letisha Maraltadj moved from far north-west Western Australia to Ballarat, playing football was the last thing on her mind.

The 17-year-old grew up in Kalumburu, north of Broom.

The opportunity to make what would be a life changing move camë when she secured a Ballarat Grammar School academic scholarship.

When you move that far from where you have spent your whole life though, it is easy to homesick.

Maraltadj said taking up football had been one way to help cope being so far from her family.

"Ït's something to keep me busy.

"It brings happiness to me."

She initially took up playing Aussie Rules with Grammar.

Then when the Ballarat Football League youth girls football competition began in 2011, it was a natural progression to join up.

Maraltadj has not looked back.

She has developed into one of the Ballarat Swans' best players, tasting premiership success and also going on to represent the BFL at state level.

The Grammar Year 12 student continues her football journey in Canberra this weekend with the launch of the national youth girls football championships.

She is one of six BFL representatives who will be wearing the Big V for Vic Country, joining Emma Lynch (Ballarat), Nickesha Jones (Ballarat), Nikkita Alexander (Lake Wendouree), Hayley Smith (Redan) and Amy McDonald (Redan).

The Ballarat flavour continues with Shaun O'Loughlin again coaching the side and Jeff Whittaker a line coach.

The carnival begins on Saturday with all eight teams parading before the AFL clash between GWS Giants and Port Adelaide.

Vic Country is contesting division 1: v Queensland on Sunday, v Western Australia on Monday, v Vic Metro on Wednesday and play-offs on Thursday.

GOLDEN Point's Winona Greenhalgh is also playing in the championships.

She is playing for an indigenous team, Woomeras, which is drawing on players from across Australia.

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