Gayle is an accountant. Shh – don’t tell. She thinks she’s a writer.
Published June 18th 2016
Dare Your Daughters to Dream
Aussie Rules Football was born in Melbourne more than a century ago in 1896, an auspicious time cemented in history and honoured since by a love of the game from old and young alike. Now in 2016 the AFL has written a new chapter in the Aussie Rules history book with the announcement of an AFL Women's League to commence in 2017.
Football players Avril Chow, Phoebe McWilliams and Rachael Achampong (Photo by DIAC images - Faces of Australia 27 - CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
The Women's League has been a century in the making. The first women's organised match is thought to have been played in Perth as early as 1917 when men were at war and a department store called Foy & Gibson's mounted an all women team.
Young girls with a passion for footy who grow up dreaming of playing in a premier league are finally presented with an opportunity to make that dream come true. AFL Commission Chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said "The number of women and girls playing football has doubled over the last five years." There will be no shortage of contenders to play in the league. In footy fields across the country some of our future elite sportswomen are out there having a kick. For them the sky is the limit.
Women Aussie Rules Football (Photo by Kerrie - Bond University Women's Football - CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
Eight teams have been announced for the inaugural league; Adelaide, Brisbane Lions, Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, Melbourne, Greater Western Sydney and The Western Bulldogs. Provisional licenses have been granted for The Eagles, Geelong, North Melbourne, Richmond, and St Kilda for possible inclusion in the league in 2018.
The Women's League will play an eight game season consisting of six home and away rounds, a semi-final round with the top four teams and the Grand Final. The Grand Final will be played either in the week between the end of the NAB challenge and the start of the AFL season or as an AFL season opener at the MCG on a Thursday or Saturday night. I've got my fingers crossed for a season opener, how about you?
Women AFL International Cup 2011 (Photo by Flying Cloud from Australia CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
There are a number of ways for girls to get involved and become part of this exciting Aussie Rules future. Start preparing for 2017 now.
A 2016 search for new talent for the Women's League is underway for athletic girls of 15 years or older not already register as Australian Football Players. Skills to be tested include kicking, marking, and hand balling. Girls will also be assessed on their decision making, spatial awareness and passion to compete. Registrations for the talent search are free. The Melbourne session is being held on Saturday July 16th between 9:00am and 3:00pm at Maribyrnong Secondary College. Click here to register.
Bond University Women's Football (Photo by Kerrie CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
The NAB AFL Auskick program introduces girls and boys between the ages of 5 and 12 to Aussie Rules football by teaching basic skills in a fun environment. Auskick runs Australia wide each year during the autumn and winter months. Click here for details.
Join your local community football club. Seek out your local single gender of mixed gender, age appropriate team using the AFL Community Club Finder or alternatively click here for AFL Female Football Contacts.
Women's marking contest mark (Photo by Spewmaster at English Wikipedia -Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons - Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Start an all-girl team or club in your community. For community clubs interesting in introducing all-girl teams the AFL has produced a Female Football Club Guide. Access the AFL Community Club site here.
Have a kick. Grab a footy and a bunch of friends, head for a park and have a kick.
Watch a football game, kindle an interest. Introduce your daughters to football by watching a game on TV or better still attending a game.