Jude Coleman was the only girl in the whole competition when she played for the Kerry Under 10s cricket team.
She was eight years old, and there were no other girls playing cricket, let alone forming a girls’ team.
But she got into it by playing backyard cricket with her older cousins, growing up on the family dairy farm at Cainbable Creek.
Fast forward to today and Coleman, now 41, has landed her dream role as a head coach in the Women’s National Cricket League (WNCL).
Coleman starts as head coach of the Hobart Hurricanes and Tasmania Tigers on 6 December.
Her achievement is the pride of her family back home, with her proud big sister Jayne Heit tipping the Beaudesert Bulletin off for a story.
When the Bulletin caught up with Coleman, she was leading the Adelaide Strikers to victory in the Women’s Big Bash League season in Sydney.
As assistant coach of the Strikers and South Australian Scorpions since 2019, Coleman has seen strong performances from her teams.
They’ve made three out of the four Big Bash finals since she’s been down there, winning the final this year, and last year they made the WNCL final.
“When I first started, we were finishing dead last,” she said.
“In my time down there, we’ve had four players within the Australian setup – that’s pretty impressive for a South Australian group where the population is quite small.”
Coleman was also assistant coach of the Australian Women’s team that won a historic Commonwealth Games gold medal in Birmingham in August.
For three seasons before South Australia, she worked at Queensland Cricket in pathways as a coach, talent specialist and female pathway manager.
She played for Queensland for 10 years, juggling training and playing with working full-time as a PE teacher, sports coordinator and year coordinator at Beaudesert High.
She was also an Indoor Cricket World Cup-winning captain for Australia.
Reflecting on her path from Kerry to Tasmania, Coleman said things had come a long way.
“There’s so many opportunities available for women now – playing but also sports admin, coaching, media – it’s a pretty exciting time now to be a young girl interested in sport,” she said.