THE Fuchsias are blooming at Mount Eliza — and the girls are loving it.
Mount Eliza Junior Football Club is the only all-girls team in the Frankston and District Junior Football League under-9s competition.
Each week the Fuchsias take on teams filled mostly with boys, as under-9s is the only age group not to have a girls competition.
Club president Fraser Bayne said the formation of the Fuchsias had been a great success and while the team wasn’t dominating, the players were having a ball.
“There were a lot of little sisters who wanted to play as well and the league currently doesn’t offer an allgirls under-9 competition,” Mr Bayne said.
“One of the mums said, ‘why don’t we create an all-girls team and put them in with the boys?’.
“It started slowly, then all of a sudden we were inundated and we were able to field a team.
“They are very competitive. The girls are still in the development stage but they certainly give it their best.
“They absolutely love it. You see the excitement when they kick a goal — they all jump around each other.
“We’ve spoken to a few other clubs who have rung to see how it is and they’re going to try and do it next year as well.”
Mount Eliza has about 150 girls playing across seven teams this season from under-9s to under-18s.
“This is our fourth year of having girls teams and it’s grown rapidly,” Mr Bayne said. “I think with the AFL Women’s coming on this year, we really doubled our numbers just from the excitement. Girls see now there’s a pathway.
“The league’s been very support- ive, especially of our under-9 girls. We’ve actually got a waiting list in our older girls (teams).”
Mr Bayne said if St Kilda were granted an AFLW licence it would only help the sport grow in the region. “To have a team for our girls to support and aspire to, that would be fantastic,” he said. “If St Kilda gets a team for the bayside region, it would be fantastic for our girls.” firstname.lastname@example.org KATIE BICE, OPINION, PAGE 39
Ruby and Eden and their Fuchsias under-9s teammates. Picture: DAVID CAIRD