GROWTH: Fraser Coast's female footballers could play in a structured competition next year.
GROWTH: Fraser Coast's female footballers could play in a structured competition next year. Valerie Horton

Wide Bay women could play four-team AFL season

FRASER Coast's female Aussie rules players could finally play in a competition next year.

All three Fraser Coast clubs - Maryborough Bears, Bay Power and Hervey Bay Bombers - have chased female footballers in the hope of forming competitive teams for 2018.

It comes after the Gold Coast Suns were granted a provisional licence to compete in the AFL Women's competition.

The eight-team competition was held for the first time earlier this year.

 

AFL Women's exhibition match - Hervey Bay Bombers versus Bay Power.  Bombers.
AFL Women's exhibition match - Hervey Bay Bombers versus Bay Power. Bombers. Valerie Horton

North Melbourne and Geelong will join the AFLW in 2019, with Gold Coast, West Coast Eagles, Richmond Tigers and St Kilda to join in 2020.

That growth is reflected at local level, as the Bombers and Power played several games throughout the year.

While Hervey Bay comprehensively defeated the aptly-named Girl Power in their encounters, it showcased the skill and desire of local players.

The Power continue to meet regularly for training sessions despite the fact a future competition has not yet been locked in.

 

AFL Women's exhibition match - Hervey Bay Bombers versus Bay Power.  Bay Power.
AFL Women's exhibition match - Hervey Bay Bombers versus Bay Power. Bay Power. Valerie Horton

Maryborough did not feature in opens games, but the Bears were one of the only clubs to consistently field a full squad of under-16s players during the short Friday night season and Lightning Cup.

The Bears have actively pursued players for next season, and the emergence of a possible Bundaberg team could allow women to play the sport they love in a structured competition.

AFL Wide Bay president Mark Mason said the league would pursue a competition in 2018.

 

Maryborough Bears AFL - girls team players (L) Annika Brown and Montanna Bidois.
Maryborough Bears AFL - girls team players (L) Annika Brown and Montanna Bidois. Alistair Brightman

Mason said the league's preference was for a four-team competition to be held during the preseason, which, if successful, could lead to greater things.

"We won't do it half-heartedly," Mason said. "We're happy to be patient.

"Currently the league's view is they want a competition. The Power and Bombers already have teams, Maryborough has pursued it, and we are fielding feedback from a fourth possible club in Bundaberg.

"I'm certain there will be a women's competition next year but we're just not sure how it will look."

The AFL Wide Bay's competition will be discussed at the association's next meeting in mid-October.



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