The growing popularity of Women’s football is having a significant impact across regional South Australia following the successful launch of two new competitions in 2017.
And such is the bright start to the Barossa Light Gawler Women’s League and the South East Women’s Football League, plans are already afoot for season 2018.
In the north, as many as 180 girls took part in the inaugural BLGW Competition, in the age-groups of Under-14 and Under-17, with seven of the nine clubs participating.
A nine-a-side format across an eight week season culminated in a finals series held in late August. Importantly, the BLGW Competition resulted in as many as 50 girls trying out for Central District’s teams in the 2018 SANFL Statewide Super Talent Shield, a significant increase on five the year before.
Plans are already underway for an expanded BLGW Competition in 2018, with the hope of all nine clubs participating and increase in the length of the season.
But the expansion doesn’t end there. SANFL Central Regional Football Coordinator Todd Thorne said a senior women’s competition was on the agenda for the BLGW as well as possibly starting a new competition in the Clare region next year.
”We were really aware of the synergy between footy and netball in the country,” Mr Thorne said.
“The last thing we wanted to do with female football is detract from netball. We wanted women to be able to play both which is why we scheduled the matches on a Sunday. We are looking forward to an exciting season next year.”
In the south-east, SANFL South-East Regional Football Coordinator Ian Perryman has played an instrumental role in setting up the inaugural South East Women’s Football League in 2017.
Initially planning for around 100 women to participate, the SEWFL organising committee was pleasantly surprised when close to 150 girls – aged between 14 and 43 – signed on to play.
”The SEWFL turned out to be such a great success as it wasn’t in our wildest dreams that we thought we would attract so many new players,” Perryman said.
”As a result, we were able to expand on our initial expectation of four teams, to include a total of six for the first season.”
The SEWFL included North, South, East, and West Gambier Football Clubs, the Millicent Football Club and the Mount Gambier All-Stars, the latter team coached by Perryman.
”Next year the competition will be known as the Limestone Coast Women’s Football League,” Perryman said.
”We’re really looking forward to building on what has been an outstanding success in the first season.”
PHOTOS – Barossa and Light Herald/Jess Supple