Grow­ing girl power is set for elite path

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - SPORT - To find out more go to aflaus­ or

IT’S been girl power all the way in the AFL, with the es­tab­lish­ment of the first ever fe­male AFL acad­e­mies in NSW and the ACT this year and a na­tional women’s com­pe­ti­tion planned for 2017.

The fe­male fo­cus is no sur­prise, given the huge growth of girls tak­ing part in AFL Aus­kick pro­grams.

More than 50,000 chil­dren par­tic­i­pated in AFL Aus­kick pro­grams in 2015 and girls were the fastest-grow­ing seg­ment, ac­count­ing for al­most 18,000 par­tic­i­pants.

AFL NSW/ACT chief ex­ec­u­tive Sam Gra­ham is thrilled with that growth.

“To­gether with the es­tab­lish­ment of a NSW Fe­male Tal­ent Academy and the an­nounce­ment of a na­tional fe­male com­pe­ti­tion launch­ing soon, girls in NSW now have a path­way to elite com­pe­ti­tions,” Gra­ham said.

“Of course, the pri­or­ity at ju­nior level is al­ways fun, and we con­tinue to evolve pro­grams to pro­vide the most en­joy­able and in­clu­sive en­vi­ron­ment for young peo­ple from all back­grounds to be in­tro­duced to the game.”

The fun way to get a taste of the game is the NAB AFL Aus­kick pro­gram, which makes learn­ing to play AFL fun, safe and easy for boys and girls.

Through weekly coach­ing ses­sions chil­dren are able to learn the skills of the game in an ex­cit­ing, so­cial and safe en­vi­ron­ment.

Play­ers can choose from Af­ter-School pro­grams, In School pro­grams (both four to six weeks) and Club Aus­kick pro­grams (12 weeks and more). Aus­kick par­tic­i­pants re­ceive a backpack, lunch box or boot bag, de­pend­ing on the pro­gram.

The Aus­kick of­fer also in­cludes Red Rookie or GMan’s GI­ANTS Mem­ber­ship and spe­cific pro­grams of­fer Game Day Live Fam­ily Passes to Swans/GI­ANTS Home Games. For added in­cen­tive, there is also the Auskicker of the Year Com­pe­ti­tion.

NSW/ACT had three NAB AFL Auskicker of the Year Nom­i­nees for last year: Ella Ea­gle­ton of Wil­loughby Wild­cats, Lin­coln Sum­mons from Kel­lyville Rouse Hill and Zach Lambert from Thur­goona.

The prize in­cluded an AFL Grand Fi­nal Ex­pe­ri­ence play­ing at half­time and hand­ing out medals to the premier­ship win­ning play­ers.

Kick­ing into the fu­ture . . . more than 50,000 young­sters took part in AFL Aus­kick pro­grams in 2015.

Girls are the fastest-grow­ing seg­ment in AFL Aus­kick.

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