Women’s rep football returns

It has been confirmed today that AFL Hunter Central Coast will host AFL North West NSW, AFL North Coast and AFL South Coast in a three-match program of senior representative football.

The Hunter Central Coast will play host to the matches, held on Saturday, July 20.

The day will bring an end to four consecutive days of representative football, following each league’s involvement in Coffs Harbour’s Northern NSW Junior Carnival for junior footballers held from July 17 to 19. 

The day will act formally as a promotion of women’s football showcasing the best talent that each league has to offer. 

An AFL North Coast vs AFL North West NSW Women’s fixture is scheduled, in addition to the annual AFL Hunter Central Coast versus AFL South Coast Men’s and Women’s contests.

The day shapes as a feature of football and provides a full day of action for fans to enjoy. 

While senior representative football has suffered a stop-start response following the pandemic, the leagues are all thrilled to see it return to full capacity for season 2024. 

Emily Brown, Community Football & Competition Manager – Hunter Central Coast spoke positively about having each league travel to the Central Coast, and the impact the fixtures will have on the development of their top-end talent.

“The women’s programs have been built to the point where there’ll be two additional regions taking part in the event,” Brown said.

“We’re glad that there’s an opportunity to showcase how strong women’s football is getting in NSW and we’re excited to be hosting the matches.

“Two matches followed by a men’s match between the Hunter Central Coast region and South Coast region will make for an exciting day.”

The Hunter Central Coast Women’s side led at every change in 2023 on their way to victory against their South Coast opponents. 

The match acted as a significant memorial following the Hunter bus tragedy, with the side fittingly putting in a display that reflected the importance of players having an opportunity to represent their region. 

In addition to the senior matches, boys and girls in the Under-13s, 15s and 17s age groups will spend three days, Wednesday through Friday, in Coffs Harbour battling it out for the Simon Smyth Cup.

AFL South Coast took home the trophy in 2023, and their northern rivals will be aiming to claim it back from them this year. The senior representative matches on the Saturday will provide an outlet for the southern families to break their trip home up, and cheer on their senior squads. 

Brad Greenshields, Community Football & Competition Manager – Northern NSW was thrilled to get women’s representative football back on the Northern NSW calendar in addition to growing the successful junior carnival in 2024.

“There has been no shortage of feedback from the women’s players in both leagues that there’s an appetite among them to play representative matches,” Greenshields said.

“This match will be the first time the two leagues have played against each other since 2018 and it will no doubt highlight how much the standard of the women’s competitions in both the North West and North Coast have improved since then.”

For AFL South Coast, redemption is on the cards. Unable to get a Men’s side in 2023, coaches have been appointed and an early April start for training is already being planned. 

The matches will act as a huge opportunity for the league to showcase the talent within their competition and although going into these matches as underdogs, are excited to take it to the Hunter Central Coast. 

Casey White, Community Football & Competition Manager – South Coast referenced the opportunity for the league to put its name on the map as a premier competition outside of Sydney. 

“Across the men’s and women’s programs, there is a significant amount of talent in the South Coast. We know the quality of opposition that AFL Hunter Central Coast will bring, it’s up to us to match or better that this year.”

“We are thrilled to have Kyle Emley, confirmed as our Women’s representative coach and Michael Coleman as our Men’s coach. Both are incredibly experienced and professional operators, and their achievements across all levels of football speak for themselves.”

“It’s on us as a league to provide the best experience possible for our players and put out the strongest teams possible. We want people to see the South Coast as a place where great players play and be seriously looked at by the elite clubs as a place to draft players from.”

Schedule of matches:

11am – AFL Hunter Central Coast vs AFL South Coast (Women’s)

12:45pm – AFL North Coast vs AFL North West NSW (Women’s)

2:30pm – AFL Hunter Central Coast vs AFL South Coast (Men’s)