Fox Sports Graduate Mali Davis (right) pictured with Social Media Producer Allie Tialshinsky (left)
Below is one of my favourite photos ever. I have it printed out and stuck on my fridge.
It was taken by AFL Chief Photographer Michael Wilson in the stands of a Carlton v Hawthorn game in 2022.
For me, it tells the truth of women in sport. I think about the love and toil those hands have sewn into our game for years – humble and unwavering. I imagine the change she must have seen over her lifetime on the sidelines.
A Hawks fan knits a scarf before Blues v Hawks by Michael Wilson
As a young girl, there was no AFLW and girls could not play professional footy. Instead, I dreamed of working in the broadcast side of the game I loved.
Back home in Queensland, I studied journalism and law at university. During which, I pursued work out in the media and public relations team for my local government. However, I always aspired to a career in sport. Specifically, I always sought to work at Fox Footy. After receiving the Fox Sports Women in Sports Media Graduate role, I relocated to Sydney to see if I could make that happen.
After some convincing, the program coordinators agreed to facilitate work for me, alongside the wonderful team at Fox Footy for the duration of Grand Final Week.
My focus over the week was largely on using my skills and experience in social media and marketing to push eyeballs to the stacked broadcast coverage on Fox Footy.
I worked alongside producers, production managers, talent, publicists, digital producers, journalists and many more hard-working and talented team members. We covered magazine shows, Grand Final Parade Day, the Longest Kick and Grand Final Day on Fox Footy.
Mali's view for the 2023 Toyota AFL Grand Final
Mick Neill and his wonderful team also surprised me with tickets to see my fellow Queenslanders in the 2023 AFL Grand Final at the ‘G.
Not even a Lions loss in the 4th quarter could dull the shine of that experience.
My week in Melbourne was one of the greatest highlights of the graduate program and one of the greatest of my career. I am incredibly grateful to the wonderful Fox Footy team who made this opportunity possible.
My advice for future graduates is to seek everyone’s advice but listen to your heart and your gut.
Hold closely to the people who believe and invest in you. I have been lucky enough to have wonderful mentors who made my success their business.
There is no magic solution to gender bias and inequity in sports and society. Unfortunately, our world, our industry and our business have a lot left to do. For a long time, sport has been considered ‘men’s business’. We have a fair bit of that thinking left to unpick.
I have learnt you must back yourself and go after your goals unapologetically. You must be unrelenting. I pursued this opportunity at Fox Footy outside of the predetermined program. You owe it to your younger self to ask for that thing a million and one times! I would encourage future grads to lean into their passions and their dreams and not let go of them. Hold on to them so tightly your knuckles turn white.
My week in Melbourne proves that dreams do, indeed, come true.
My ongoing hope for our industry and our business is that women and other marginalised groups continue to see their dreams come to life. I hope we see more and more women on both sides of the camera and the boundary, as the world learns what Wilson’s photo tells us – women have always loved sport.