Two incredible opportunities for local female footy
North Coast girls and women have been presented with two fantastic opportunities that will continue the rapid growth of female footy locally, with the Sydney Swans getting an AFLW licence and AFL North Coast starting a Youth Girls Under 14 competition.
The roll-out of the first of these two developments comes as soon as the 2022 season when AFL North Coast will launch its Youth Girls Under 14 competition. This comes off the back of the phenomenal success of the Youth Girls Under 17 competition in 2017, and the Women’s competition the following year.
Matt Crawley, Northern NSW Development Lead, said that female participation continues to grow year on year. “After just five seasons of Youth Girls footy we now find that 28% of participants in our Junior Competition are girls, and despite the Women’s Competition starting a year later, 25% of participants in our Senior Competition are Women.
“Our fastest growing demographic are girls aged 12 to 14 years so it’s time they got their own age group and chance to play in a girls only competition. Other regions that have already implemented the younger girls only divisions have seen an explosion in the numbers of girls who are keen to play and we know it will be the same on the North Coast. A number of clubs have ready made teams so the ground work is already done.”
Further supporting the local expansion will be the introduction of a Sydney Swans team into the AFLW competition in the 2022/2023 season.
The Swans will join the competition along with the three other AFL clubs that don’t currently have a Women’s team, meaning more elite content on free to air TV across the summer months which will generate significant interest locally. More importantly, with the North Coast being part of the Swans’ Academy zone there will be enhanced opportunities for girls to progress through the talent pathway, with the potential to go all the way to the AFLW.
“Our region has punched above its weight when it comes to producing female talent,” Crawley said. “Nikki Wallace, Brianna McFarlane, and Georgia Breward all started out in footy on the North Coast and each was drafted to an AFLW club.
“In the last 12 months we’ve had local girls April Devine, Shania King, Poppy Johnston, and Phoebe Baptiste in the Swans Academy Top End Program, so the Sydney Swans know that our region is a hotbed of talent.”
If you’re born between 2008 and 2010, not currently involved in footy on the North Coast, but keen to learn more about the plans for a Youth Girls Under 14 competition please complete the form below.