THE rise of women’s football has taken a big step into south west Victoria with the formation of the Western Rebels youth girls football team.
Combining the strength of the Hampden, Wimmera and South West regions after the establishment of the AFL Victoria western region, the Rebels allows girls aged between 13 and 17 to have the chance to compete in the statewide Subway Shield competition, which begins on Sunday.
Hamilton’s Jenna Loates has been named in the squad to take part in this year’s event, while also among the Rebels team is Georgia Watson, who represented Vic Country at the national championships after shining in last year’s competition, while a number of other girls are currently training to become a part of the state team.
The widening of the area in which to draw players has also meant that girls from Ararat, which has a team in the Ballarat Youth Girls League, will be able to add their regular playing experience to their teammates’ enthusiasm.
With the AFL announcing last year that it expects to have AFL affiliated, and nationally televised, elite women’s competition by the year 2020, the developmental path for female players is being given a big boost.
Full story in The Spectator on Tuesday, April 1, 2014, or subscribe to our epaper at top of page.