Livewire forward Delma Gisu will become the first Torres Strait Islander woman to play for the GIANTS when she makes her AFLW debut on Friday night in Canberra.
The 22-year-old has a remarkable story, born on the tiny Mer Island (also known as Murray Island) with a population of fewer than 500 people.
Gisu started her football journey in Townsville before starring for Wilston Grange as they claimed the QWAFL premiership in 2018.
A small and extremely quick forward, Gisu kicked 13 goals in 13 games for the Gorillas and impressed for the Gold Coast SUNS during the 2018 Women’s Winter Series.
Gisu comes into the GIANTS side for the final match of the season alongside defender Phoebe Monahan and fellow forward Haneen Zreika.
Jacinda Barclay will miss the match with a collarbone injury while forward Jodie Hicks failed to prove her fitness after sustaining a knee injury in last week’s loss to Adelaide. Ruck Ingrid Nielsen has been omitted.
Gisu was told she’d be making her AFLW debut by coach Alan McConnell in front of the team on Wednesday evening.
Despite making huge strides on and off the field since moving to Sydney in November, Gisu still didn’t expect to be running out in a GIANTS jumper on Friday night.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she told GIANTS TV.
“I couldn’t believe it … I don’t know what happened, I just went really quiet.
“It’ll be a really great opportunity to get out there. Finally my goal has come true to run onto the field and to be the first Islander girl.”
Gisu has been based in Brisbane the last few years but still found the move to Sydney and the introduction into the rigours of the AFLW competition tough.
She says it’s her GIANTS family who have helped her get where she is today.
“It was a really tough move,” Gisu said.
“I don’t know if I ever wanted to come to Sydney but the opportunity was there so I had to take the opportunity to move to Sydney.
“Moving away from family was a really hard decision but coming to the GIANTS, the girls are helping me out and that’s one thing about the GIANTS that I like.
“The GIANTS is the family club for me … We’re a bunch of misfit girls coming together.”
Gisu will run out on to UNSW Canberra Oval on Friday night with her new family beside her and a home ground full of support.
Will there be any first-game nerves for the debutant?
“No,” she said.
“I’m never nervous when I’m running onto the field, I’m always happy.”
Round 7 Team
GIANTS v Geelong
Friday, March 15 at 7:15pm
UNSW Canberra Oval
FB: Pepa Randall, Ellie Brush, Amanda Farrugia
HB: Phoebe Monahan, Tanya Hetherington, Nicola Barr
C: Rebecca Beeson
HF: Yvonne Bonner, Jessica Dal Pos, Elle Bennetts
FF: Delma Gisu, Cora Staunton, Christina Bernardi
RR: Erin McKinnon, Alyce Parker, Alicia Eva
Interchange: Louise Stephenson, Haneen Zreika, Lisa Whiteley, Courtney Gum, Brittany Perry
In: Delma Gisu, Phoebe Monahan, Haneen Zreika
Out: Jodie Hicks (knee), Ingrid Nielsen (omitted), Jacinda Barclay (collarbone)
Emergencies: Maddy Collier, Tait Mackrill