Club pushes to re-establish women’s team
THE Whitsunday Sea Eagles AFL Club is dedicated to hosting its first women's development squad next year, with plans to bolster female numbers at the club and enter a women's team in next year's competition season.
Whitsunday Sea Eagles president Chris Morrison said people older than 14 were welcome to join the program, which would consist of eight basic AFL skill introduction and development sessions run weekly.
The program is being organised with the Bald Eagles Masters AFL Club - two 'come and try sessions' have already been held - with a third to take place next Wednesday (December 18) from 5.30pm at Whitsunday Sportspark.
Mr Morrison said newcomers to the game were welcome to attend - bring a water bottle and runners suitable for kicking in, or footy boots, and all other training equipment would be provided.
He said a female AFL team had played in the 2017/18 competition, but numbers were lower last year and a team wasn't formed.
"So we're having another attempt at getting a team back into the comp for 2020 or 2021 depending on numbers," he said.
"Hopefully that will generate some more interest."
He said early indications were positive with about 14 women attending the two tryout dates so far.
Mr Morrison said the club was hoping to attract some younger players who would be able to commit to the club for two to three years, and also to provide a pathway for keen players already in the mixed U12 and U14 teams.
"We've got some very talented girls in those teams just now so we're committed to getting the women's team up and running," he said.
"We want them to be able to continue their development here in Airlie Beach."
Some players have represented North Queensland and played for the Gold Coast Suns Academy squads.
"They have aspirations to play in the national competition one day," he said.
Mr Morrison said AFL was a "fun team sport" for all players as well as being "a very good way to exercise and stay fit".
"All the girls who've played previously have become very good mates and there's been good camaraderie.
"It's fast and physical and bit of stress relief."
AFL was growing as a women's sport across Queensland, Mr Morrison said, with a heavy focus on developing teams for women and playing competitively.
"The AFL women's competition is now a national comp and it's getting TV coverage," he said.
"In our region, because we have so many interstate people living here, there's a lot of people with an AFL background so we're seeing more and more interest, including from the girls as well."
Ideally, he said, the club would be keen for 16-20 players to be part of the women's team, with the season starting in late March and a pre-season carnival (date to be confirmed) to be held in Airlie Beach.
Games will be played in Airlie Beach, Mackay and Moranbah.