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Women’s footy on the rise

LINDISFARNE, Richmond and Clarence Junior Football Clubs have joined forces to deliver the Eastern Shore Girls Only Auskick Centre, encouraging girls to participate in women’s football in a fun way.

The program commenced on 28 January and is held at Lindisfarne North Primary School every Tuesday from 4pm to 5pm for 10 weeks.

The sessions are coached by experienced women’s footballers from the Lindisfarne Southern Football League Lady Blues team and players from the Lindisfarne Junior Football Club’s under 17 girls team.

Lindisfarne Women’s Football team head coach Jodie Mather said it was a great opportunity for junior girls to come along and learn football.

“There hasn’t been many opportunities in the past for girls to go into an all-female environment and learn footy like boys have been able to,” she said.

“Women’s football is one of the fastest growing sports in Australia and young girls now have the opportunity that a lot of us older players had, and that’s to play from Auskick all the way through to senior football.”

Ms Mather said the sessions were about getting young girls interested in football.

“It’s about fun and enjoyment and building that passion for the game that a lot of us more experienced athletes have,” she said.

“We’re just working on the basic skills like handball, kicking and marking, and just trying to create a bit of fun about the game so girls enjoy it more and come back each week.”

One of the participants was eight-year-old Mia Gilmour who was excited to start playing as her father coaches the sport.

“I’m enjoying it because I’m learning about all the skills of football and how to play the game properly,” she said.

“My favourite part of the sessions is when we play a little mini football game usually at the start or the end of training.”

Mia’s father, Hobart Football Club senior coach Alex Gilmour, said having these development programs in place was great for the game in Tasmania.

“There’s so many kids these days that are locked away indoors and playing video games, so it’s great to see young kids out and about participating in things and staying fit, active and healthy,” he said.

“If we can get young women participating early on in these youth development programs, it will be easier to keep them coming through the ranks.

“It’s a really good program, which is really fun and friendly with plenty of kids participating.

“Mia thought it was a warm atmosphere and she really enjoyed being out there kicking the footy and learning new skills.”

For more information about the program, visit https://play.afl/auskick/activites.

Caption: Participants at the Eastern Shore Girls Only Auskick Centre at Lindisfarne North Primary School.