Other codes a boost
direct marketing through social media, visiting schools etc,” he said.
“The next few years you expect the big sports participation numbers to grow due to the resources, but there will be always a section of the community that doesn’t want to engage in that sport and we as a sport need to be ready with an option so they have an alternative.
“Where we differ however, is in softball we have a huge opportunity to leverage from what AFL and cricket can’t offer, which is the Olympics and college opportunities in the US.
“The opportunity to play for your country on the biggest stage at the Olympics or obtain an education that lasts a lifetime is something both of those sports can’t offer yet.”
Wanneroo Districts Netball Association’s Sallie HoyPoy said their competition worked by way of individuals rather than gender, but despite this had little response from boys wanting to play.
“We have always allowed boys to play alongside girls in our competition up to the age of 12 with no restrictions,” Mrs HoyPoy said.
“We have more than 2000 girls up to age 12 playing on a Saturday morning in our winter competition from May to September at Kingsway, however we only ever get a handful of boys playing.”
Mrs HoyPoy said the association even introduced an U15-boys-only grade this year because of the gap in the development pathway for boys, but had had little to no response so far.
She said she did not think AFLW had affected registrations and believed the Super Netball League was a positive step forward for women’s sport in Australia.
“Every year we see growth in the participation of girls in netball and we have a very active board of directors who volunteer hundreds of hours to ensure we have a fantastic competition available to children of all ages and abilities,” she said. “The introduction of the AFLW competition does not appear to have affected our registrations at this point in time and I believe that we can all work together to encourage children to participate in sport.
“In some areas of Perth they are running a girls’ football competition on Friday afternoons so that girls can participate in both sports.
“The elite players of the Super Netball League are amazing role models for our children and promote healthy lifestyles, team spirit and many more strong qualities.
“Any child should be able to participate in whatever sport they choose without fear of discrimination based on gender or ability.”
Swan Districts Female Football coaching director Nicole Graves said by promoting and developing the pathway, the AFL had ensured the opportunity for women and girls for the future.
“Being involved in any community sport is powerful but football being such a large sport and so accessible, the opportunity for little girls and boys to be inspired to play footy will help support a whole generation of active young people, especially girls,” she said.
A child should be able to participate in the sport they choose without fear of discrimination based on gender or ability.