Esther Boles dreams of AFLW after earning scholarship

HOME-GROWN: Boles has been awarded the Riewoldt Family AFL Excellence Scholarship at Bond University.

HOME-GROWN: Boles has been awarded the Riewoldt Family AFL Excellence Scholarship at Bond University.

A DARE from her uncle forever changed the course of Esther-Frahn Boles’ life.

Boles started playing AFL against the boys when she was 11 after her uncle challenged her to attend training sessions.

Little did she know that first training session would lead her on the path to a prestigious scholarship at Bond University on the Gold Coast.

The country girl from Port Augusta is now on a fast-track pathway to the AFLW.

She began her playing career as a junior at Central Augusta and has been a key player in the SA U18 side for three years, initially taking the bus to Adelaide every Sunday to train with her teammates.

“I was always getting told off for playing too rough in netball. I was always told I should play footy and my uncle dared me to give it a go,” Boles said.

“It was sort of like breaking a barrier for the town for me to play footy with the boys.

“When I was 11 I didn’t think anything different of it. At that age, girls are actually a bit bigger than boys, so I didn’t physically struggle at all.”

Esther Boles

The ruck rover has been representing South Australia since she was 12 and captained the team this year as well as the Central Allies.

The Riewoldt Family AFL Excellence Scholarship will give the 18-year-old a full tuition scholarship and provide an opportunity to enhance her footballing career whilst also giving her a first-class educational experience at Bond University.

Boles plans to study a Bachelor of Social Science, and gain experience in social work with a long term goal of working in the federal police.

“I’m a big believer that there is more to life than football,” she said.

“This is such a cool opportunity because it caters for someone that wants to be really successful in other fields, not just the field itself.

“Bond is really focused on helping me get drafted but also helping me academically. I really find that exciting.

“On the field, the program is as elite as an AFL program.

“A big part for Bond is they are very focused on the development on the individual players and making sure they get what they need to improve. Speaking to the coaches I realised this is the perfect place to improve me as a player.

“It is a perfect time to move to the Gold Coast with the Suns coming in. If I can bring good leadership and a good football brain and can keep training hard, things are looking positive.”