The only thing holding women’s football back across the country is ground access and female-friendly facilities, AFL head of women's football Nicole Livingstone says.
In Hobart to help launch this year’s Tasmanian State League Women’s season, Livingstone said the game continues to grow with pathways now ranging from Auskick to AFLW.
“Growth in women’s football right across the country is thriving. For this 2018 season (in Tasmania), there is 86 community teams that are female teams,” the former Olympic swimmer said.
“The finer details of AFLW season No. 3 are still being worked on, so in terms of what it looks like for the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos that’s still to be finalised but they do have a very strong commitment to Tasmania.
“Women’s football, it more than just women’s football, it’s actually a movement and I think that women, mums, grandmas and little girls are actually being part of a movement which is fantastic.
“It’s not only changing the opportunities and possibilities for girls on the field, it’s also changing their possibilities off the field.
“We’re hearing stories of women never being allowed near the selection table on a Thursday night at footy clubs right across the country and now they’re their selecting women’s teams.”
This year’s five-team TSLW season begins on Saturday, April 22 with reigning premiers Launceston favourites to go back-to-back.
Tasmanian female talent manger Leigh Elder said the Blues will be “a force to be reckoned with again”.
“The Blues may have surprised a few by winning a flag so early in their journey, given the young average age of the squad,” he said.
“Key position stocks are plentiful and will have a strong defence, the challenge will be to see if the young midfield can continue to lead the way without the class of Daria Bannister at their disposal.
“With many players listed in both the senior state and under-18 academies, it is without doubt one of the most talented lists in the state, which should see them participate in the big dance again in 2018.”
Melbourne midfielder and high-profile Burnie star Emma Humphries, who returned to the state on Sunday, said she is hoping to help nurture Tasmania’s up and coming talent.
“It will be good to help the local talent out. Obviously there is word on the street that Tassie football isn’t going too well at the moment, but we’ve put a lot of time into game development… so hopefully we can help everyone out,” she said.
“Hopefully, I can have a good season with the girls (Burnie). Tassie is really going strong. I think girls can see a pathway, they can see their idols playing on TV, which they haven’t been able to do before.”