More women take up AFL on Coast

23 Jul


By Madeleine Gleeson, Bond University Journalism Student

The Australian Football League is pushing for more female participation in their sport by broadcasting the first female game in Melbourne last month and having the professional teams sponsor female representative sides.

After focusing on their international development of the game over the past few years, the AFL has now chosen to expand even further, with focus being on female development.

Bond University debuted their women’s Australian rules football team on the weekend. They played Burleigh under 18s and lost by three points, an effort to be commended for as Burleigh sits around second on the Gold Coast regions u/18s ladder and the Bond girls only having trained for six weeks and AFL is a new sport to a majority of the girls on the team.

Bec Palma who played in Saturday’s game against Burleigh said “I have been playing AFL for eight years, but have been around it for my whole life. Moving to the Gold Coast meant that I had to stop playing because the closest team that I could find was Cooly-Tweed, and while studying full time, getting to training and games wasn’t an option.

“After realizing the demand for a team in the central Gold Coast area and having the access to over 2000 females at my university I saw that as a window of opportunity to start my own women’s football team,” Bec said.

“For now we are training, the next step is Australian Uni Games and hopefully next year we will be able to enter the Queensland women’s Australia Football League.

“AFL and sports in general play such a huge role in bringing communities together and building bridges where other things cannot, sports shouldn’t discriminate ability, gender, race or religion and to me that is something special. So being able to bring this to the Gold Coast and to my university is really important to me.”

Ex AFL player Ricky Nixon said women’s football had really taken off.

“That’s because the AFL put a lot of time and effort into it and I think that it’s clearly something that girls enjoy doing…I think what’s made it popular is the girls are getting to play in the stadiums, like on the MCG,” he said.

“I don’t subscribe to the reasons that people put up that because it’s a physical game girls can get injured… if girls want to play why shouldn’t they play?

“ I guess the point of debate is when should girls stop being able to play against boys… I can’t think of another sport around the world where males and females can play against each other at an adult level so it makes sense that they should in AFL either.”

Ricky said that in Melbourne he’s been caught by surprise by the ‘unbelievable numbers’ of girls signing up to play footy.


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