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Don't Believe in Never: Dema and the Bankstown Bull Sharks

Don't Believe in Never - Dema A young girl of Muslim background from Bankstown, Dema fell in love with AFL and despite her conservative parents not wanting her to play, Dema has gone on to participate in the 2017 Female National Diversity Championships. Her parents are now her biggest supporters.

A Bankstown Bull Sharks player from Western Sydney is one of the faces of the AFL’s 2018 campaign, ‘Don’t Believe in Never’.

Dema, a young girl of Muslim background from Bankstown, shares the story of how she convinced her conservative parents to let her play the game she loved after developing a keen interest in it during PE classes at school.

While initially hesitant, Dema’s father Stephen eventually came around, and is now one of the team’s top supporters and water runner, cheering on his daughter from the sidelines.

The Bull Sharks had a modest introduction to the junior football landscape, but the passion was clear from the outset, with the girls returning for a second season in 2017 and making it through to the grand final.

The talented Dema had a particularly impressive season and was selected to represent NSW/ACT in the AFL Diversity Championships held in Byron Bay last October.

On Monday the AFL released its ‘Don’t Believe in Never’ campaign, with a series of three videos, featuring Dema, Richmond premiership coach Damien Hardwick and Swans player Aliir Aliir with each video centering on passion, dedication, overcoming adversity and ultimately triumph within the game.