Courtney Ugle in action for Essendon's VFLW team against Southern Saints in round five, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

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COURTNEY Ugle has navigated a childhood repeatedly punctuated by tragedy to build a fulfilling life filled with football and community.

Now, the VFLW star is doing what she can to help other young people find their own way through life's challenges.   


Ugle joins host Megan Waters for the latest episode of Talkin' It Up, where she details the difficulty of losing both her parents at a young age. 

"I just look back and reflect on that now, just how hard my mum's life was, and it makes sense as to how she was and the way she battled through her stuff. It's so admirable and when I think of strong women, I think of my mum," Ugle said. 

"There's a lot of sweet memories I have of growing up and there's a lot of sad ones, but i look back and reflect on all of them, and I'm still here today and I've got the voice now to share those stories, the good and the bad."


Ugle, who, along with playing for Footscray in the VFLW, is a community worker with Djirra, an Aboriginal family violence prevention service, said despite the challenges her family faced while she was growing up, she felt that her mother's "tough love" had prepared her for the life she now leads. 

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"I feel like she always saw something in me and it might have been a bit of tough love back in the day - that's definitely how I saw it - her kind of picking on me, or only telling me to go to school and I'm like 'what about our other siblings?... in my heart I believe that Mum knew that I had the strength and the ability to do the work that I do now. 

"Not to say that my siblings don't, but I always liked a bit of limelight, I always had a big voice and wasn't afraid to speak up and I think Mum truly saw that in me... 

"I think Mum, despite all of her struggles, she saw that in me. Regardless of her deep struggles herself, her love for us was never questioned."

Talkin' It Up is a new AFL podcast hosted by Megan Waters and Andrew Krakouer, and includes football legends from players to coaches and those who have been touched by the game we love.

Join them as they create a safe space to chat about their lives and experiences, exploring culture and connection and sharing stories about how football brings us together. 

Don't miss a minute! Subscribe to Talkin' It Up NOW at Spotify, Apple Podcasts or Google or watch each Tuesday on or the AFL Live Official App.