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Last Friday, the South Metro Junior Football League hosted its inaugural class of 100 + Game Female Footballers in an all-day event held at RSEA Park.

With the league running its tenth season under the SMJFL banner, introducing female football in 2012 with one age group and division, these young women who have achieved this milestone have paved the way for the 2,250 girls who play across 97 dedicated female football teams in the league.

“The girls may not realise this now, but they are pioneers of our league,” said SMJFL CEO Matthew Brown.

“Their achievement of reaching this milestone isn’t just about going and having a kick of the footy, its about setting a foundation for our league and leading with their dedication and investment into our sport for generations of girls who want to play footy.”

Joined by some notable female industry leaders from a variety of backgrounds, including Victorian Institute of Sport CEO Anne-Marie Harrison, actor and writer Natalie Bond and Kojo Creative Studio’s and former AFLW & WNBL star Chantella Perera, girls were able to connect and converse in an intimate setting about their experiences and future goals.

“It was fantastic to come down and be apart of such an event, 100 games is an amazing effort,” said Executive Manager Equity, Growth and Inclusion at Football Victoria Karen Pearce OAM, who was also in attendance.

“It wasn’t too long ago girls didn’t have the opportunity to play footy past a certain age, and to now have these fabulous girls coming through and making a difference and being role models for the future.”

“As someone who didn’t really have the option of playing footy growing up, it was really nice to hear how they can include footy into the balancing act of life,” said Chantella Perrera.

The girls were also privy to an audience with St. Kilda AFLW coach Nick Dal Santo to get an inside look into the happenings of women’s football at the elite level, before engaging in the ‘Play to Your Strengths’ seminar at the new Danny Frawley Centre.

“Play to Your Strengths is about finding your character strengths and learning how to use and highlight your strengths not only on the footy field, but for your overall health and wellbeing too” said Danny Frawley Centre Community Programs Manager Josh Connell.

“All the players, both the men’s and women’s teams at St. Kilda have partaken in Play to Your Strengths, and they feature them in their lockers at the club, so hopefully this helps to empower the girls in whichever way life takes them into the future.”

The SMJFL is exceptionally proud of this first class of female 100-Gamer’s, and we look forward to celebrating many more young women to achieve this magnificent milestone.