Soccer background makes way for bright talent

Justin FrisSouth Western Times
Reliable South Bunbury defender Kiarni Stevens loves being a Tiger.
Camera IconReliable South Bunbury defender Kiarni Stevens loves being a Tiger. Credit: Justin Fris

Despite being one of the toughest defensive lynchpins in the SWFL women’s competition, South Bunbury’s Kiarni Stevens is happy to let her performances do the talking.

Stevens shone in the Tigers’ grand final win over the Bulldogs and her effort was recognised with a life members award during Saturday night’s best and fairest count.

The 19-year-old was surprised with the acknowledgement, especially as she did not initially hear her name called out, after leaving the room momentarily.

“I was actually quite shocked when I got it,” she said. “My teammates came running towards me and said I had won an award.

“So I semi-ran back into the room and said “yep, I am here” while walking up to the stage.”

Growing up in Bunbury with a soccer background, Stevens played primarily in defence before emerging as an imposing goalkeeper.

Following her success with the round ball game, Stevens was approached by former Tigers women’s coach Teagan Smith to play for the Tigers in 2017 and has not looked back.

Following five matches in her first season, the resolute teen has become a South Bunbury staple, much to the delight of everyone who wears red and white.

But one thing which is never too far from Stevens on the field, or in her thoughts, is her family.

Aside from her Tigers teammates and coach Maxwell Jetta, who have become like a family to her, Stevens proudly has a tattoo on her left shoulder, in memory of her nan.

“My nan passed away last year,” she said. “She has always been someone who has been really close to my heart.

“And I always thought if she passed away I would get something to represent her. She always supported me when it came to sports, so now she is always with me when I play footy.”

Outside of football, Stevens enjoys kickboxing and playing video games after her study commitments. “I am studying building and construction for carpentry and joinery,” she said.

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