All smiles after a women's AFL match between North Coast and Inverell. Photo: Paul Taylor
All smiles after a women's AFL match between North Coast and Inverell. Photo: Paul Taylor

AFLW bringing more players to the sport

AUSSIE RULES: The 2020 AFLW competition is two rounds old and has already captured the imagination of women and girls across the North Coast.

Being able to see top-line women’s footy on free-to-air TV is driving interest among females, with a significant spike recorded in inquiries about connecting with local youth girls’ and women’s teams.

Community Football manager Paul Taylor said this was becoming an annual trend.

“Each year since the inception of AFLW we’ve had an influx of inquiries from women and girls wanting to play locally,” he said.

“This year, with more teams in the AFLW meaning more games on TV each week, the number of inquiries have gone to another level.

“Each year our local competitions have grown and this is forecast to happen again in 2020. In the women’s competition, Grafton and Northern Beaches will form their own teams this year after playing as a joint venture in 2019, while the youth girls age group is expecting to see Port Macquarie Magpies and Nambucca Valley Lions join the fray.”

To help in capturing this interest, AFL NSW/ACT will run a come-and-try day in Grafton for players born in 2009 and older.

Most players coming to AFL have a background in other sports and are finding their skills are instantly transferable.

“Those who have played sports like netball and soccer are finding the movements and positioning similar but are loving the extra physical contact, while basketballers love the extra space to move in,” Taylor said.

The AFL North Coast competition is entering its third season, which means even the more experienced players are still developing their game.

Newcomers are always welcome, with plenty of volunteers to show them the ropes and break down the new skills. Girls and women have been welcomed into the local clubs and are loving their involvement in AFL.

“The most pleasing aspect of starting female footy has been the way the existing clubs have embraced female players, with every club readily acknowledging their organisation for having girls and women’s teams and players,” Taylor said.

“In turn, the girls and women are feeding off these environments and are loving playing footy and being around their club.”

To find your local footy club go to play.afl/. For more information on the come-and-try days or any other aspect of female footy, phone Matt Crawley on 0431 877 173 or email matthew.crawley@afl.com.au.



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