TAC Cup Girls competition set to open doors for elite young players

First published on Herald Sun online by PETER ROLFE. 

 

A NEW elite female Victorian football league will be set up to offer a pathway to AFLW in another major step forward for the women’s game.

In an Aussie first, a TAC Cup Girls competition will be established to give females aged 16-18 the best chance of fulfilling their dreams of playing professionally.

Every boy’s TAC Cup club in the state will this year field a girls squad, forming a 12 team female underage competition with bases throughout metropolitan and regional Victoria.

The competition, to start this weekend, will boost the talent pool for the successful AFLW and streamline players to the top tier of footy.


A TAC Cup girls competition will be launched for the first time this season. Picture: Alex Coppel.
The TAC hopes the new partnership will also help drive down the road toll among young drivers with 51 people aged between 16 and 25 killed in Victorian car accidents last year.

AFL Victoria chief executive Steven Reaper said the league would give girls their best shot at the big time and create a new generation of female leaders on and off the field.

“It is really exciting from our point of view that we can create a genuine pathway that mirrors that of the boys which we’ve had for a 26 year period,’’ he said.

 

Male and female TAC Cup players will share the same training facilities and access to coaches under the expansion.

Carlton AFLW vice-captain Madeline Keryk said the fact girls would be given the same opportunities as boys was a significant step on the path to professionalism.

“It’s definitely a massive step towards achieving that equality in terms of having that complete pathway girls can come through from juniors, Auskick and all the way through,’’ she said.

“To have that access to all the coaches and experience, I mean in the past a lot of girls have had to stop playing when they’re 12 or 14 and they missed those crucial years of development.

“It’s just going to drive the standard of football up and up and really drive participation for girls as well’’


A TAC Cup girls competition will be launched for the first time this season. Picture: Alex Coppel.
Women Minister Fiona Richardson said the move encouraged participation of young girls in sport, hot on the heels of this year’s successful AFLW debut.

“We know that we need to do more with respect to women and girls sport because around the ages of 12 and 13 there tends to be a significant drop off in girls playing sport,’’ she said.
The five-round TAC Girls competition starts Saturday with a clash between Murray Bushrangers and Bendigo Pioneers at Punt Rd Oval.

 

The SMJFL region includes catchments areas (suburbs) for a number of TAC Cup academies – Sandringham Dragons, Oakleigh Chargers, Dandenong Stingrays and Eastern Ranges.

 

Get in touch with the writer:

peter.rolfe@news.com.au

@rolfep