Women’s football is giving Belinda Cipriano
LEAGUE SUCCESS HELPS OTHERS
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,
League captain Kara Donnellan, Swans general manager Nicole Graves, 15s captain Tara Stribley (12) and 18s captain Emily McGuire (17).