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PHOTO GALLERY: How U10 shoelaces in Canberra made headlines

Young Wildcat Gemma Klose is always happy to help tie shoelaces - AFL
Young Wildcat Gemma Klose is always happy to help tie shoelaces

THE WESTON Creek Molonglo Wildcats Football Club hit the headlines last month when one of its junior players was pictured tying up the shoelaces of an opponent during an U10s match.

AFL Media's renowned photographer Michael Willson visited the home of the Wildcats in Canberra as part of a three-part photo essay series to support the Toyota Good for Footy Raffle.

CLICK HERE It's time to raise with the Toyota Good for Footy Raffle

The club will use part of the funds raised via the Raffle to support their local indigenous players.

1. With a near 50-year history, the Weston Creek Molonglo Wildcats are a close-knit club with a strong community focus. This is their first year participating in the Toyota Good for Footy Raffle, which they have entered to support their Indigenous players to buy footy boots and uniforms.

2. The club's inclusive culture recently made headlines when a game day photo of young Wildcat Gemma Klose, helping an opponent tie her laces in the goal square went viral. Gemma will even tie her brother Ryan’s shoelaces before his match if he asks nicely. 

3. Arriving at the ground each Saturday, the pre-match BBQ lures players and parents alike. Not many can resist the smell of cooking onions.

4. The Wildcats play their home matches at the picturesque Stirling Oval in Canberra.

5. The Wildcats place a big emphasis on milestone matches. A special banner ensures all players who play 50, 75 or 100 matches are celebrated as they run out onto the field.

6. All hands in … "Go Wildcats!" and let the matches begin!

7. The Wildcats have a number of teams for all ages and genders. On Saturday, this particular mixed team was on fire as they kicked their way to a win.

8. Back in the changerooms, the players belt out the team song loud and proud.

9. Despite the chilly mornings, the Wildcats cater for the young ones too. Auskick sessions run concurrently with matches, so everyone can get their hands on the footy.

10. The Wildcats also have a number of Auskick Pro teams. 

11. As games progress, adults watch their young charges with pride. The emphasis is on fun here, and looking after each other is paramount.

12. The Wildcats are diverse and proud of it, having recently started an AFL talent program for their indigenous and multicultural players. A fantastic initiative for local kids to get involved, and to develop their footy skills through quality coaching. 

13. The club is also big on equality. With a growing number of female registrations, these girls are kicking goals.

14. Fingernails always look a little worse for wear after a Saturday, as the coaches ride every bump and contest with their players.

15. High five! The Wildcats love to celebrate their goals with teammates.

16. The half-time oranges are always a massive hit.

17. Thanks to those oranges, another win is chalked up for the morning.

18. As the morning draws to a close, the best players from each team receive a celebratory Gatorade from the coach in the changerooms...

19. …and a celebratory hug from Mum and Dad.

20. Without the tireless work of its volunteers, the club couldn’t survive. Everyone, including President Trudi Fajri (right), pitches in to ensure a great day out for all. This community spirit is why the Weston Creek Molonglo Wildcats are a brilliant example of Toyota’s Good for Footy in action.