Game to get ‘bigger, better’
Female football is well and truly kicking goals in the Pilbara and shows no signs of slowing down.
The most recent achievement for the fledgling competition was the inaugural North West Region Women’s AFL Carnival, a showdown between female-only sides from across the region, which was held at Karratha’s Bulgarra Oval last Saturday.
The tournament is planned to be an annual event and grow to include other northern teams including Exmouth, Broome and Geraldton in coming years.
On Saturday, women aged about 12 to 38 drove in from all over the Pilbara to play as part of either the Karratha Giants, Ashburton Thunder or Hedland Reds.
While there were some impressive skills on show in all games, it was the home team that won, defeating a combined Ashburton/ Hedland team 8.10 (58) to 1.0 (6) in the grand final.
Carnival organiser and WA Football Commission Pilbara regional development manager Vicki Agnew said the carnival gave local women a competition of their own that would only grow “bigger and better” over time. “It’s too far for these girls to get down to Perth and there’s some amazing talent out there, so … we’ve got to give them an opportunity,” she said.
“It gives the girls another avenue. Women’s footy is the fastestgrowing avenue of football, so why should we be any different?
“Our girls play junior football, so they should be able to play and continue on.”
The carnival is the latest in a series of big moves for the development of women’s football in the Pilbara.
Four teams have started up in Karratha, Ashburton, Port Hedland and Newman since late last year. The Karratha women’s football side alone has been training since February, and players have been honing their skills against other Pilbara women’s teams at every opportunity as well as regularly taking on local men’s teams, including Clontarf Academy and several NPFL sides.
Karratha player Keryn Eckersley said they now had a core group of girls who regularly attended training and games, and there was a lot of natural talent coming to the fore.
On June 4, the Karratha and Port Hedland women’s teams also had a major chance to showcase their skills, playing the curtain-raiser for the North Pilbara and West Kimberley inter-league competition on Colin Matheson Oval.
There is more on the cards for Pilbara women’s football this month, as Ashburton teams from Tom Price, Paraburdoo and Newman play a curtain-raiser game in Newman on June 25.
New Pilbara women’s football players are welcome and anyone interested in playing can contact Ms Agnew on email@example.com or join Karratha Women’s AFL Facebook group.
Karratha Giants' Shontae Indich-Nedro, 15, kicks for goal.
Karratha Giants' Paige Malek, 16, tackles Ashburton Thunder's Ebony Clarke.
Karratha Giants' Paige Malek, 16, and Ashburton Thunder's Mikayla Taylor compete for a mark.