by Matthew Elkerton
AUSSIE RULES: AFL North Coast operations manager Paul Taylor has labelled the first ever senior womens game on the North Coast a "raging success” at Ellem Oval.
Not even overnight rain and a boggy surface could stop the AFL North Coast side and Ballina Bombers from putting on a thrilling contest in front of a strong crowd.
While North Coast were slow out of the blocks in the early stages - with three-quarters of the side having never played a game of AFL before - they were quick to find confidence in what was a physically demanding contest.
Ballina proved they were an already well-established team starting on the front foot and opening up a comfortable lead in the opening quarter but it was the impressive fight back from North Coast which suggests good signs for the future.
North Coast captain Alana Hanson was proud of the efforts shown by her side in the face of the 37-18 defeat.
"I was really happy with how everybody went,” Hanson said. "We lacked a bit of match fitness and the finer strategic points but more than made up for it with enthusiasm.
"The response has been amazing, the comments from the crowd were so positive, the boys loved watching us out there and the Ballina team were shocked that we hadn't been training or playing regularly.”
The North Coast side included two Grafton Tigers juniors in Jordan Speechley and Lily Doyle.
North Coast will now take a renewed focus back to training sessions ahead of their next clash against an AFL North West composite team at Inverell on July 8.
Taylor also suggested matches for Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour were in the pipeline for the side.
This means that there are plenty of opportunities for women on the North Coast to play AFL, to register an interest please contact the AFL Northern NSW office on 6659 6000.