Female footy numbers heading North on the Coast
AFL North Coast has completed an historic step in their continued growth, with the first ever senior women’s match played over the weekend.
The region’s Youth Girls program has swelled in the past year, with 20 players registered in 2016, increasing to 80 registrations in 2017.
Despite the implementation of the Youth Girls competition in 2016, the opportunity for ‘senior’ women to play AFL within the region had yet to be established – until now.
With the rise of female football across the nation following the marked success of the inaugural AFL Women’s competition, this is another example of the positive direction in which the sport is heading.
A combined North Coast team took on the Ballina Bombers in less than desired weather conditions, but it couldn’t dampen the spirits of the players taking part in the history making moment.
Although there were no points up for grabs in this initial ‘friendly’ match, next year’s first complete AFL North Coast Women’s competition is set to be hotly contested.
Despite going down to the Ballina Bombers by 19 points on the day, North Coast captain, Alana Hanson said the match was a great starting point for where they hope the competition will go.
“Something I love about AFL is the teamwork, and we’re all trying to make this sport grow,” said Hanson.
“I was really happy with how everybody went.
“We lacked a bit of match fitness and the finer strategic points, but more than made up for it with enthusiasm.”
AFL NSW/ACT Female Football Manager, Hannah Davis also said that the friendly was a giant step forward in the right direction for female football in the region.
“With the inaugural Youth Girls competition up and running this year, it is great to see such immediate interest in a Women’s competition, and subsequently, the development of a strong female player pathway on the North Coast,” Davis said.
“AFL NSW/ACT will continue to develop the Women’s football space by creating more opportunities for females to play, and by working with clubs to start up their own female teams.
“I am excited to see what 2018 brings for both the Youth Girls and Women’s space, but also the potential role that female football can play in strengthening AFL more generally across the region.”
Next for the newly formed North Coast team, is a representative double-header where both of the Men’s and Women’s teams will travel to Inverell to take on teams from the AFL North West League.
Next year’s inaugural AFL North Coast Women’s competition will involve three new teams and will run from April to September.
If you would like to get involved in the new AFL North Coast Women’s competition, please contact AFL North Coast on 6659 6000.