Women’s foot­ball is giv­ing Belinda Cipri­ano

LEAGUE SUC­CESS HELPS OTH­ERS

Melville Times - - Local Sports Stars -

THE in­tro­duc­tion of the AFL Women’s com­pe­ti­tion has done noth­ing but boost the num­ber of girls in sport, ac­cord­ing to WA sports in­dus­try lead­ers.

The com­pe­ti­tion, launched na­tion­ally this year, is ex­pected to grow by 250 teams across Aus­tralia, AFL na­tional fe­male foot­ball de­vel­op­ment man­ager Jan Cooper has said.

Mrs Cooper has cham­pi­oned women in foot­ball for more than a decade and was in­stru­men­tal in chang­ing fe­male foot­ball from a few small leagues across the coun­try to a na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

“At this stage it’s a bit early to tell, as reg­is­tra­tions for the sea­son are not yet open but we have re­ceived hun­dreds of in­quiries, which is ear­lier than usual,” she said.

“The com­pe­ti­tion has shown young girls they can do and be what­ever they want to be, given hard work and self-be­lief.

“It has also show­cased ex­cep­tional women in other roles such as Ade­laide Crows head coach Re­becca God­dard, field um­pire Gabrielle Si­monds and AFL mar­keter Jemma Wong.”

■ Stir­ling Sen­a­tors Bas­ket­ball Club gen­eral man­ager Kristy Pike said there had been an in­crease in girls play­ing bas­ket­ball.

“At an elite level we have seen steady growth, but at a do­mes­tic level we have seen larger growth,” Ms Pike said.

“I don’t think the women’s AFL has neg­a­tively im­pacted our sport.

“There are elite se­nior play­ers who have taken up AFL, which is great for women in sport and I be­lieve ev­ery­one should have the opportunity to play in whichever sport they choose.”

■ Soft­ball WA chief ex­ec­u­tive Dean Bur­ton agreed and at­trib­uted soft­ball’s growth to the or­gan­i­sa­tion and its af­fil­i­ates do­ing a bet­ter job at en­gag­ing the com­mu­nity, as well as the fo­cus on health and well-be­ing by par­ents.

He said the or­gan­i­sa­tion might have to change the way it did things in or­der to keep up with the more pop­u­lar sports and look at op­por­tu­ni­ties not pre­sented by them.

“With the rise of AFL, net­ball and cricket, it raises the bar and makes us look in­ter­nally at how we do things.

“The chal­lenge is that these big­ger sports have the head start, as they have more re­sources to en­gage the com­mu­nity, for ex­am­ple TV cov­er­age, news­pa­per cov­er­age,

Pic­ture: David Baylis d458442

League cap­tain Kara Don­nel­lan, Swans gen­eral man­ager Ni­cole Graves, 15s cap­tain Tara Stri­b­ley (12) and 18s cap­tain Emily McGuire (17).

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