Rising Sun

Belinda Crossman 27 April 2024
  • Media release
  • ANZACspirit
  • Veteran stories

The ANZAC traits of endurance and mateship are ways of life for Jordan Membrey – AFLW player, schoolteacher and Army Reservist.

Gold Coast Suns player Jordan Membrey doesn’t just rise to challenges. She pursues them.  

When she’s not playing elite football, or teaching at a local high school, she’s serving part-time in the Australian Army. 

“I joined the Reserves to challenge and reward myself, grow mentally and physically, and do something different that you can’t do in civi (civilian) world,” Jordan says. 

Persistence pays off 

A few football injuries put Jordan’s dream of joining the Army on hold – but she refused to give up.  

“Around 10 years ago, I attempted to enlist, but I’d hurt my shoulder with footy, so I had a few setbacks,” she recalls.  

Jordan Membrey – AFLW player, schoolteacher and Army Reservist

“But I was determined to join. I went through rehab, got MRIs and made sure that I was rock solid to say, ‘No, I'm ready to go, I'm fit and firing’.” 

After successfully joining the Reserves, Jordan marched out of Kapooka in November 2020 – just before a pre-season game for her then club, the Collingwood Magpies. 

“I was very grateful that Collingwood supported me to attend my training for Kapooka because it crossed over the AFLW season,” she says.  

“They were super supportive of me being able to start my Army career, and likewise Defence was very supportive of my football career.” 

Juggling three careers  

Since then, Jordan has successfully juggled three careers, managing training commitments, injuries and interstate moves along the way.  

After playing for the Magpies, serving with the 4th/19th Prince of Wales’ Light Horse Regiment and teaching at a school in Melbourne, Jordan returned to her hometown to join the Gold Coast Suns. 

Jordan Membrey – AFLW player, schoolteacher and Army Reservist

“I've been at the Suns for the last two years, and it's honestly been one of the best experiences I've had. I'm very grateful for my opportunities that I've had within the football environment,” she says. 

Jordan also coaches AFL at a sports excellence school – a job she describes as “a dream” – and serves as a Cavalry Trooper with the 12th/16th Hunter River Lancers Regiment in Caboolture. 
“I've only been there for the start of this year and I’m enjoying it very much. We're about to go on a field exercise next weekend, and I'm really looking forward to getting to know my unit more.”  

Despite Jordan’s packed schedule, she enjoys being “busy and on the go”.  

“I love a challenge, and I think I thrive off trying to fit it all in,” she says. “I’m very lucky to have the support to be able to do what I do. There’s definitely opportunities to be in the Defence Force in any way, shape or form if you're looking to go down that path.” 

Leadership, confidence, resilience and mateship  

For all its demands, Jordan’s Army career has yielded many rewards.  

“Defence is absolutely a challenge both physically and mentally. I think you grow as a person in that you build your peer learning, but also traits like leadership, confidence and resilience that you get from the Army have enhanced me as a person in a footy environment, in a teaching environment, and in my life in general,” Jordan says.  

Jordan Membrey – AFLW player, schoolteacher and Army Reservist

Like sport, Defence has also given Jordan lifelong friendships. Whether she’s in uniform or her football guernsey, she knows her team is right behind her.  

“You have your teammates there that'll go onto the field with you and have your back. That mateship is pretty special, and I think it's quite hard to find anywhere else.” 

For Jordan, this is most apparent in the ADF and Army AFL clubs – “two of the most special teams that I've ever been a part of”.  

“One of the best things about Army is the camaraderie, and then to bring it to an AFL environment and combine the two, it's quite unique and special. To have those people support you in your life and to be there, it's really hard to articulate that feeling and that mateship.” 

 Proud to wear the uniform 

This ANZAC Day, Jordan will join the ADF All Stars team in Canberra, coaching the side in a match against the New South Wales Police team, the Blue Heelers. 

“I've been involved in a few ANZAC matches that have fallen within the week of ANZAC Day, but never on the day itself. And to be able to do it alongside these other inspiring women that serve is going to be pretty special and unique.” 

Private Jordan Membrey

She’s also looking forward to attending the Australian War Memorial Dawn Service and visiting the local RSL Sub Branch to “play some two-up and share some stories” with her teammates ahead of the game. 

“ANZAC Day is a special, powerful, emotional day – to reflect on those that have made the ultimate sacrifice, fought, never returned the same, to allow us to have our freedom and live the way we do,” Jordan says. 

“It's also a day when I look at all the inspiring members around me and those serving full time, and the families whose loved ones have served to protect our nation.  

 “I'm really proud to wear the uniform, to have the Rising Sun (Army badge) on my chest and thank those who continually make sacrifices for our country.”