Georgie Rankin’s outstanding commitment to the community has been recognised with the Cats’ defender named the 2022 AFLW Carter Family Community Champion.

Rankin, 24, has generously given her time across a range of Cats Community initiatives over the past 12 months, going above and beyond to deliver meaningful engagement, and has been particularly active in the inclusion and accessibility space.

Rankin stepped up as the club’s first AFLW ambassador for the Sensory Zone in the 2021 season and has embraced the role over the past year. She took it upon herself to organise an education session with local health service Barwon Child, Youth & Family, to build her knowledge in the space and become a true champion for people with sensory needs, and attended Sensory Zone staff training as well.

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Georgie Rankin nominated for Jim Stynes award

Georgie Rankin has been named a finalist in the 2021 Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award

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Rankin also helped out at the Cats’ annual All-Abilities Clinic, ensuring everyone was having fun, and giving the young participants the confidence to take part and enjoy the day. She also stepped up again to be involved in the AFL Barwon Access All-Abilities Auskick Clinics in November and December.

At the club’s Welcome to Geelong and Welcome to Our Game events – which welcome people from culturally diverse backgrounds to the club for a day to introduce them to our club, our stadium and our game – Rankin was again front and centre, ensuring everyone was actively engaged, encouraged and made to feel comfortable.

Rankin also represented the club at an Iftar Dinner at Diversitat, helped pack food hampers for Diversitat to distribute in the community, and was part of the working committee to design Geelong’s inaugural Pride guernsey.

Rankin, who won the 2021 Hoops Award for embracing and demonstrating the AFLW squad’s values, also put her hand up to attend training and help deliver the club’s GMHBA Healthy Heroes program to primary school-aged children.

Such was the scope of her contribution to Cats Community over the past 12 months, Rankin was named a finalist in the AFL’s most prestigious community award, the Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award, as well being named a finalist in the Variety – Tom Hafey Heart of Football award for her selfless actions and dedication to children in the community.

Geelong’s head of AFLW Brett Johnson said Rankin was a very worthy winner of the Carter Family Community Champion award.

“Georgie has really led by example with her outstanding commitment to the wider Geelong community, and it is fantastic to see her recognised in this way,” Johnson said.

“Georgie’s development and growth as a leader over the past 12 months has been phenomenal, and it is no surprise to anyone at the club to see her recognised once again for her wonderful work in the community.

“Georgie is a true role model to her teammates and those she meets in the community, and we can see her personal values and beliefs at the core of all she does for our club and the community.”

Cats GM of Community, Sarah Albon, congratulated Rankin on her win.

“The Carter Family Community Champion is such a special award for our club, and we are thrilled to see Georgie recognised for her outstanding work this year,” Ms Albon said.

“Georgie’s enthusiasm for our Cats Community programs is second to none, and her genuine warmth and care in delivering the programs is wonderful to see.

“We’re so lucky to have Georgie at our club and in our community, and thank her for generosity and passion in our programs.

“Congratulations Georgie, this is very well deserved recognition.”