Women on the Mid North Coast have made it clear they want to play AFL. They’re about to get their chance.
Two recent developments have been key to this growing wave of interest – the introduction and broadcast of the AFLW competition, and the development of Youth Girls footy on the North Coast. More than 40 women have contacted AFL staff in the past two months alone, expressing their interest in giving AFL a go, and this has led to plans to offer Women the chance to try the game, learn the skills, and then play matches against teams from other regions.
The initial step in starting women’s footy will be to offer a come and try experience in Port Macquarie on Sunday May 21 (1:45pm at Wayne Richards Park). This session will be staged around a Port magpies v Macleay Valley Eagles Youth Girls match, will include coaching from AFL NSW/ACT female development staff, and game play. It will also include discussions with participants around the scheduling of future activities that will build into matches where a North Coast team will play against teams from the Northern Rivers and North West competitions.
Paul Taylor, AFL North Coast Operations Co-ordinator, said that the level of interest has been surprising.
“We knew that AFLW would inspire girls and women to play footy, we just didn’t expect this much interest so soon. The introduction of our Youth Girls competition has been hugely enjoyable so we now want to focus on providing opportunities for women to play AFL.
“A recent report by the Australian Sports Commission shows that female participation in AFL across the country has grown by 56% in the past 12 months. With the numbers of girls who are flocking to our Youth Girls competition, and with women coming on board in serious numbers, our region will dwarf that growth rate over the next year.”
Female footy has been a real success story on the North Coast in the past twelve months with local umpire Amanda Guthrie being rookie listed to AFLW, local players Georgia Breward and Lilly Doyle gaining selection in the AFL NSW/ACT Youth Girls state team, and the introduction of the Youth Girls competition which has teams in Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Kempsey, and Port Macquarie.