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Bonding with the Bull Sharks: Indigenous students Harrison Ireland and Katie Lander

Which mob/tribe do you belong to?
Harrison: I am from the Melukerdee tribe and that is from the South East of Tasmania.
Katie: My mob is Darumbal from Rockhampton.

What sport do you play?

Harrison: I play AFL which I have been playing since I was in kindergarten through Auskick. I have played the majority of my footy in the ruck but have now had a change-up and am playing centre half back. 
Katie: I play QAFLW in the forward line. I’m originally from the Northern Territory and played AFL from the age of 6 till 12 but was unable to continue playing due to there being no female teams. But when I came to Bond I decided to start playing again as I had missed it. 

What are you studying / where are you working?

Harrison: I am currently doing a Bachelor of Sports Management and am working as a program facilitator for AFLQ. I have previously done an internship/worked for a sports management company called RDK Sports International.
Katie: I started off studying a Diploma in Built Environment and moved into a Bachelor of Design in Architecture. I currently work at Bambam Bakehouse in Mermaid Beach. I knew there was an architecture firm next door and I had wanted to do an internship for a while, so, one day at the end of my shift I went next door, gave them some sweets, and asked if they’d be looking to take on someone looking for experience in the industry. They said yes (with a mouth full of croissant)!

Can you describe your connection to Country?

Harrison: I grew up in my original Country of the Southeast Nation which I am so privileged for. I have a deep connection with the community and people there and try to get home as much as I can to remain connected to my community. I am very lucky to have had the large support system of The South East Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation.
Katie: Growing up, I always knew I was Aboriginal and always felt connected to Country when at home. When I’m down here on the GC I sometimes feel disconnected if I haven’t been home in a while, so if I can’t get home, I like to go out into the bush and be in the open. 

How does it feel to wear the Indigenous Bull Sharks jersey? 

Harrison: It is a large honour to be able to put on the jersey that has been designed to acknowledge Indigenous Peoples and play the game I love so much. It gives me a huge sense of pride when I run out with that jersey on and they look awesome too.
Katie: It’s my favourite round of the season, as I get to wear my culture with pride. The artwork was done by a lady who works at Bond, Narelle Urquhart, who is an amazing artist. I love it because it tells the story of culture and the Bond Bull Sharks coming together. 

Who inspires you the most?

Harrison: Each of my family members, mum, dad, and my three sisters inspire me every day in their different ways.
Katie: Probably my older brother, Charles. Whenever I’m asked this question he’s the first person who comes to mind. I’ve always admired his work ethic and the way he’d do anything for a mate.

Where can we find you on your days off?

Harrison: I love going to the gym and socialising, so I’ll often be around the uni accommodation with my different friendship groups, or you’ll see me in my room playing video games.
Katie: I don’t really know what days off are! I’ve always been the type of person who commits to a lot of things. I’ve got study, work, footy, and I’m on a committee at uni.

If you could invite 3 people to a dinner party, who would it be?

Harrison: Adam Sandler, Kendrick Lamar, LaMelo Ball.
Katie: This is a tough question… I’d probably say Beyonce as I admire her work ethic. Kalyn Ponga would be my second dinner guest as I would love to talk to him about the NRL. My last place at the dinner table would go to Oscar Davis as he is a professor in philosophy. 

When you finish university, what would you like to do?

Harrison: I want to get straight into the workforce and gain as much experience in as many different areas as possible. I’d also like to travel and to take my football to the highest level I can.
Katie: Well after completing my internship I was actually offered a job at Justin Humphrey Architects and will hopefully be starting there in September. I hope to continue learning from everyone there, and strengthen my skill set until I come back to Bond in 2024 to study my Masters. 

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