THIS year’s Great Southern Football League Women’s competition is fast approaching and spectators can expect more bang for their buck this time around.
The competition has expanded to include teams from Denmark-Walpole and Mount Barker with games scheduled for McLean Oval and Sounness Park.
West Australian Football Commission Great Southern Regional Development Manager Matt Bishop said it was an exciting time for female participation in the fastest growing segment in Australian football.
“Female participation increased nationally by 21,000 in 2018 to 176,000, most of which has been inspired by the evolution and growth of AFLW,” he said.
“This is also true of the Great Southern but it has also been dependent on the opportunity to play.
“Despite the GSFLW only starting in 2018, there have been women’s development program in place since the early 2010s.
“The first two seasons of the GSFLW have been well supported and it is exciting that this has inspired Denmark-Walpole and Mount Barker to enter teams.”
With the addition of two new teams, and two new venues comes almost double the amount of fixtures than the previous season with 10 rounds scheduled plus the three finals rounds.
Bishop said going forward he would like to see an expansion in the junior ranks for female footy.
“There are currently no opportunities for girls, around 12 to 16-year-old, to play in female-only competitions,” he said.
“This is something that we are going to explore in 2020 by providing interested girls with an opportunity to train and play with their friends. We plan to hold training and or games prior to the GSFLW games during the 2020 season.”
Bishop said with the growth in the league, there would only be more opportunities for girls to participate in school carnivals and other events.
“There are plans to provide aspiring girls with the opportunity to participate in representative footy through the establishment of a GSFL women’s team that will participate in the WACFL Country Championships in July,” he said.
“This will also include the continuation of the annual visit by the Claremont Women’s Football Club in late March where the representative team will have the opportunity to play a WAFLW team. Hopefully these opportunities will help unearth the next Sophie McDonald, the first GSFLW Fairest and Best player and now West Coast Eagle.”