The move by AFL NSW/ACT into the women’s space of the game was on display last evening with the launch of the Central Coast Academy of Sport 2018 AFL Girls Program. The program is a first for the region and a clear sign of the direction the AFL is taking in building this program to increase the talent depth for selection to higher order teams.
Female AFL is very much on the national radar with the staging of the AFL Women’s Grand Final scheduled for this weekend between the Western Bulldogs and the Brisbane Lions. Many of the players featuring in the Grand Final and throughout the AFLW’s first two seasons have come from a range of different sports. This has been replicated through the Academy’s inaugural AFL Girls squad which features athletes from a range of sports including basketball, cricket, netball, soccer and touch football among others, along with a number who have played AFL for the last few years.
The academy program is part of an endorsed pathway with AFL NSW/ACT and the ultimate prize for those girls within the program would surely be an AFLW contract to play on the big stage. While this won’t happen overnight one could suspect athletes within the program will hopefully in time advance to play in at AFLW competition.
Mark Tipple, the CCAS Programs Manager said of the AFL Girls program: “The AFLW has been fantastic for helping to raise the profile of female sport in Australia and for aspiring female footballers. It’s exciting to think of the opportunity local footballers have to progress their game in this new development program with the ultimate goal being the AFLW. AFL NSW/ACT has provided fantastic support in helping to build this program and along with the CCAS junior boys AFL program, the Central Coast now has great coverage for budding local footballers.”
Ash Moeller, the AFL Female Football Talent Pathways Manager said of the program: “We are excited what this new academy program will bring in 2018. In the first academy program for aspiring 14-16 year old female footy players, the academy will look to increase the skill level of the girls through weekly training sessions and the 2018 ‘Your Local Club’ Academy Games. The squad has shown a lot of potential during the trial period and through the initial sessions which is a promising sign for the program ahead.”