AFL GOULBURN MURRAY is ready to grow women’s football.
In the week the second season of AFLW began, AFLGM has released its first female football strategy.
The organisation will look at key areas of participation, talent, off field development and competitions in order to grow the game.
Region general manager Martin Gleeson said the rapid growth of the game meant the need to set a proper development plan in place.
‘‘The rise in female football participation over the past few years has been astronomical with the introduction of AFLW in 2017 driving further growth at community level,’’ Gleeson said.
‘‘Participation numbers in the Goulburn Murray across all areas have grown significantly, especially over the past 18 months and it was important we got stakeholders into the one room to discuss the growth of the game and where we wanted to take it.’’
According to the plan, there has been significant growth in female participation across all three avenues available to young players — Auskick, school and youth competitions.
Female involvement for 8-10 year olds has increased by 300 per cent between 2016 and 2017.
The strategy outlines ways in which junior opportunities will increase for females.
This will include the establishment of seven new female only Auskick centres, as well as targeting females to co-ordinate the new centres.
At a club level, AFLGM will aim to create an under 12 competition within the three year period, while looking to create an under 14 competition in the future.
The current youth girls system will be slightly altered to become an under 18s competition.
For senior players, the priority will become creating new talent pathways.
One of the key areas is creating more opportunities for interleague play, in order to get more opportunities to play against other quality players.
This includes encouraging participation from within indigenous and multicultural communities.
AFLGM is also looking to strengthen its relationship with the Richmond Football Club’s talent pathway program in order to maximise the opportunities of players in the league to find their way towards the top leagues in the country.
‘‘The input from clubs, leagues, TAC Cup, commissioners, AFL Victoria and Richmond FC representatives has gone a long way to pulling this together,’’ Gleeson said.
‘‘The strategy covers all areas of female participation at the community level and will be a key driver of our activities and programs over the next four years.’’