Game to get ‘big­ger, bet­ter’

Pilbara News - - Sport - Alicia Per­era

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 vagnew@wafc.com.au or join Kar­ratha Women’s AFL Face­book group.

Pic­tures: Alicia Per­era

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.

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