An­gels make mark


Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - FRONT PAGE - Joel Kelly

TH­ESE are the lo­cal girls ey­ing off an AFL dream and hon­ing their skills at Bel­mont-based foot­ball club Perth An­gels.

Emily Pick­ett, Rachel Ash­ley, Cali Hunt and Aleisha Dun­can are the An­gels’ up-and-com­ers also in­volved with WA’s state squad.

In com­ing sea­sons they hope to use that plat­form to pro­pel them­selves into the new na­tional com­pe­ti­tion.

Next year marks a mile­stone for women’s foot­ball as the AFL’s in­au­gu­ral women’s com­pe­ti­tion kicks off. The Perth An­gels are among nine teams in the WA Women’s Foot­ball who will help elite play­ers en­ter the state squad and get to the draft for the emerg­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

The new AFL com­pe­ti­tion will start with eight teams aligned with AFL clubs – four from Vic­to­ria and one each from WA, Queens­land, New South Wales and South Aus­tralia.

By mid-May, the AFL is ex­pected to an­nounce which AFL clubs were suc­cess­ful in their bid to have women’s teams.

Perth An­gels in re­cent years have joined forces with WAFL club Perth Demons and Bel­mont Ju­nior Foot­ball Club to cre­ate bet­ter path­ways for girls en­ter­ing the sport.

Club pres­i­dent Kristy Geuer said the club had come a long way since its beginnings in 2011.

“We have two teams at the mo­ment and next year we hope to grow to three teams: youth girls, re­serves and se­niors,” she said.

“Our youth team is look­ing to be quite strong this year; we’ve been build­ing them up for four years now.”

The ded­i­ca­tion of the play­ers is clear, with some train­ing up to four times a week be­tween club and state du­ties.

Across Aus­tralia, fe­male par­tic­i­pa­tion in foot­ball has soared.

There were 163 new fe­male foot­ball teams that be­gan in 2015, with the num­ber of women tak­ing part in the game ap­proach­ing 300,000.

Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek­mu­ni­ d452427

Emily Pick­ett, Rachel Ash­ley, Cali Hunt and Aleisha Dun­can.

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