Fremantle Gazette

Girls face fi­nals show­down

- Rourke Walsh Sports · Akwa United F.C. · East Fremantle · Fremantle · Western Australia · Kelly Anderson

A JU­NIOR girls’ footy team is at risk of hav­ing to for­feit its grand fi­nal be­cause of a fix­ture clash and the re­fusal of the as­so­ci­a­tion to move the date of the game.

What is sup­posed to be the un­de­feated Piara Wa­ters Ju­nior Foot­ball Club’s Year 7-8 Grey’s big­gest game of the year — a grand fi­nal against East Fre­man­tle — is now in doubt be­cause the sched­uled time for the match clashes with a ma­jor rep­re­sen­ta­tive net­ball car­ni­val over the long week­end.

The grand fi­nal is sched­uled to be played at 10am on Mon­day — the Queen’s birthday pub­lic hol­i­day — but the tim­ing means at least seven Piara Wa­ters play­ers would have to choose be­tween sports, likely leav­ing both their foot­ball and net­ball team­mates short of num­bers.

Kelly An­der­son, whose daugh­ters Ava, 13, and Lily, 14, play both sports said the girls had been left with an im­pos­si­ble choice.

Ms An­der­son said it was par­tic­u­larly dis­ap­point­ing at a time when the AFL was try­ing to grow par­tic­i­pa­tion among young girls.

“The tough­est thing for the girls in­volved is that what­ever they do, they feel like they are let­ting down their team­mates,” she said.

“If they de­cide not to play footy then the footy team can’t play be­cause they don’t have enough, and vice versa.”

Ms An­der­son claimed both clubs had asked for a Fri­day night grand fi­nal and of­fered to host it at ei­ther ground if nec­es­sary.

The net­ball car­ni­val is usu­ally held in June but had been pushed back be­cause of COVID-19.

“There is not a good so­lu­tion other than to find a new time for the foot­ball grand fi­nal,” she said.

“How can we ex­pect 13 and 14 year old girls to choose be­tween two sports that they love and are tal­ented at? We should be en­cour­ag­ing tal­ented ju­nior fe­male ath­letes to con­tinue play­ing AFL.”

The WA Foot­ball Com­mis­sion said 93 ju­nior foot­ball grand fi­nals were sched­uled in Perth over the week­end and a “sig­nif­i­cant amount of time” had been put into “sched­ul­ing fix­tures in the best pos­si­ble times­lots to ac­com­mo­date as many of the com­pet­ing teams as pos­si­ble”, tak­ing into ac­count the avail­abil­ity of um­pires and grounds.

“The unique cir­cum­stances cre­ated by COVID-19 in 2020 have been par­tic­u­larly chal­leng­ing from a fix­tur­ing per­spec­tive, mean­ing foot­ball and other sport­ing events have over­lapped where they pre­vi­ously would not have,” a spokesman said.

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