Shay Evans: the groundbreaking Indigenous footballer unafraid to push back | Michael McGowan

From playing barefoot in a remote Northern Territory town to Sydney FC, the 17-year-old’s journey has been remarkable

When Shadeene “Shay” Evans made her W-League debut on Thursday night it marked another step in the career of a footballer long touted as one of Australia’s brightest prospects. The 17-year-old striker’s 82nd minute introduction in Sydney FC’s 3-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers at Leichhardt Oval was just reward for a player who has developed a reputation among her teammates as a “fighter” with a fierce competitive streak.

“I think back home, competing against the boys, I reckon it comes from that,” she tells Guardian Australia. “The boys up there are pretty rough with everyone and I reckon I just thought, if they give me a push why not give them a push back. But I’ve always been competitive and rough and tough. When I’m training, in the games. Even going out hunting and stuff, chasing goannas, things like that, I always want to give it my best.”

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