Women stepping up to the mark in the Clarence
AUSSIE RULES: Women's AFL has continued its rapid rise on the North Coast and is quickly building momentum in the Clarence Valley ahead of the planned introduction of a Grafton Tigers team into the AFL North Coast Women's Competition next season.
Three "demonstration” matches are planned in the coming weeks and, with strong interest among local women, a training session was staged earlier this week to help keen newcomers learn the skills.
According to AFL North Coast, the turnout at the session was impressive with 12 women from various sporting backgrounds giving footy a go for the first time and finding that the transition was easy.
The session was conducted by female AFL development staff, all of whom have taken up the sport in the past two years. North Coast AFL's Female Footy Champion Vienna Schoeffel said the response at the session was incredible.
"None of the local ladies had any AFL experience but they picked it up so quickly that we finished the session with a small game,” she said.
"It was great to see the smiles throughout and the excitement for the first match.”
Demonstration matches will be played at Ellem Oval as part of the Grafton Tigers match day. The first of these is on Saturday, May 26 against Coffs Breakers and will double as the club's Ladies Day.
A further two matches are planned for June 2 and July 14.
Schoeffel said there were plenty of chances for women to get involved.
"There's been so much interest that we've organised another skills session for next Wednesday evening at Ellem Oval to make sure that all the ladies that want to train have at least one chance to do that before the first game,” she said.
"There's no requirement to come to a skills session, so anyone that wants to play in the match can join in whether they've trained or not.”
Schoeffel said the renewed push for senior women's AFL was to give a pathway for the region's quickly developing junior females.
The Grafton Tigers have a highly successful youth girls' program in place, and the club currently sits atop the AFL North Coast youth girls' ladder with three wins from four games this season.
Women's AFL is for women aged 16 or older. There's no fee to play in the demonstration matches and no obligation to commit to all three matches.
For further information on women's footy contact the AFL Northern NSW office on 66596000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.