Excerpt from Soar Magazine | Edition #4 2022 | Interview by Jess McEachen
Local fans celebrated the news that Gemma Houghton would join the inaugural Port Adelaide AFLW side after playing six seasons with Fremantle and being a two-time all-Australian. As one of the most prolific attacking players in the league, we’re now excited to see her highlights reel grow and grow here in SA! In this article, we talk with Gemma about what it means to be part of this herstory-making side, the big decision to leave her home state, and the incredibly strong cultural and community ties Gemma has.
// Congratulations Gemma on not only being a star of Port’s inaugural AFLW side – but kicking their first ever goal! How did it feel to create that piece of history as you slotted it through against the Eagles?
It’s a big moment in history for this club and I’m proud to have played my part. I don’t think it really sank in straight away but it’s a huge honour and I couldn’t have done it without the girls.
// You made the occasion extra special by celebrating with Auslan signs – can you tell us how this came about and let us know more about your community work through Port Adelaide?
It was a very special moment for me, a few weeks prior I was fortunate enough to help deliver the first Auslan session with the students and it was such an amazing session with the students. I made a promise to the kids that I would do it and I am happy they got to see that promise kept.
// Since then, you’ve unfortunately been sidelined with an ankle injury you sustained in the second round. How do you deal with the disappointments and obstacles that have come up through your career?
It’s been challenging but I have really focused these last few weeks on the things I can control and how I can apply to put myself in the best position for the team on and off the field. The rehab has progressed really well and I should be back on the track for the last few games with the girls.
// A proud Yindjibarndi woman, it’s been a big move for you to come from your home state to play here in Adelaide. But, I also loved finding out that you’ve been a Port supporter since you were a kid and finally get to wear the teal yourself! What have you learnt from this transition and what would love to pass onto other women needing to make a leap of faith?
It was a big decision to make after spending six seasons with Fremantle. However, it has been one of the best ones I have made and feel really connected to this club and group of girls. One thing I have learnt is sometimes you have to take a step into the unknown and close certain doors for others to be open, and I believe this is all a part of my journey in life to be here at Port Adelaide. Funnily enough I did grow up supporting Port. I had some neighbourhood friends who were and still are die-hard Port Fans and at a young age I followed them and continued to support the teal as I got older.
// We loved reading your profile to discover that you’re ‘affectionately known as ‘Aunty’ – coming from both your warm, maternal nature and Indigenous roots’. You’ve spoken about how you have worked a lot with Indigenous youth in WA. How would you love to help young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids here in SA?
I have a big passion for young Indigenous Youth, in particular with footy now and love working with young athletes to reach their full potential and give them hope that they too can achieve their goals and dreams, no matter what they are. I see it as a privilege to be a positive role model in the community.
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