Gillespie joins AFL South Coast for 2024

Figtree local Makinley Gillespie has accepted the role of AFL South Coast Young Leader for 2024. The role, a traineeship in partnership with Sports Ready provides an opportunity for a 2023 school-leaver to join the AFL, supporting AFL South Coast’s community football and school program outcomes.

Gillespie was one of two standouts throughout the highly competitive interview process, following a record number of applicants for the South Coast role. She will join the team in early 2024, on a minimum 12-month contract. As part of the traineeship, Makinley will undertake study towards a Certificate III Business one day per week.

Casey White, Competition Manager – South Coast was thrilled with the appointment. “Makinley really impressed our interview panel during the process, and we are incredibly excited to have her join our team.”

“The business is making great strides to introduce women into the AFL industry, and for both of our leading candidates to be young women is exciting for the future of AFL in the South Coast.”

“We look forward to integrating Makinley into our team and helping her learn the local AFL landscape. Her skillset will make her an asset to the AFL South Coast team. We will introduce her formally to all clubs at our pre-season meeting and encourage our footballing community to make her feel welcome if you see her at games.”

Makinley joins the AFL with a passion for business, having worked in retail and customer service in a casual capacity whilst completing high school. Her sporting background is soccer and will bring fresh ideas from her participation there to the table.

Makinley will be based in the Wollongong Office, reporting through to William Judd in the AFL South Coast deployment team. Additionally, she will be closely aligned to Peter Frith’s Participation & Programs team delivering school programs and competitions, Auskick check-ins, and participation administration. Her role in Community Football, will support the matchday paperwork, event planning, and other administrative tasks.

In joining the team, Makinley shared her excitement in receiving the role. “I’m looking forward to the year and am excited to get started in the role. I’m looking forward to getting out into the schools and running those programs.”

Makinley will have a performance-based option to continue the traineeship into 2025, in doing so, completing a Certificate IV in Business. Furthermore, when there are vacancies, the AFL South Coast Young Leader traineeships are advertised in November each year, and we encourage all school leavers within our AFL community to consider the opportunities available to join our team.