NEXT year’s AFL Youth Girls National Championships will be played in Shepparton.
AFL Victoria yesterday announced Shepparton’s premier ground, Deakin Reserve will host the annual national competition for females aged between 13 and 18 years.
Six Youth Girls State Representative teams from across the country will battle for the national title between May 6 and 10.
AFL Victoria’s general manager Grant Williams said there was significant interest several Victorian citites to host the championships.
“The quality of proposals provided during the expression of interest stage was outstanding and demonstrated the passion that exists for community sport in those Victorian areas.”
Williams said there had been a significant increase in participation in female football in country Victoria in recent seasons.
“The number of females participating in Victorian football has risen to almost 11,000 individuals in 2012, which has been helped by the increase in Youth Girls footballers involved in regional areas,” said Williams.
“Since 2009, Youth Girls participation has risen 177 per cent and will continue to grow, with competitions and teams to be based in Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Warrnambool, La Trobe Valley, Shepparton, Swan Hill, Wodonga and Echuca in 2013.”
The state coalition government’s support of the 2013 AFL Youth Girls National Championships through the Significant Sporting Events Program has also helped AFL Victoria to hold the event in a regional location for the first time since the competition’s inception.
Minister for Sport and Recreation, Hugh Delahunty believes the event will be beneficial for Shepparton and the state.
“Events like the 2013 AFL Youth Girls National Championships contribute to the depth of Victoria’s sporting events calendar whilst helping to attract more visitors to our State’s regional areas,” he said.
Melbourne hosted the inaugural AFL Youth Girls National Championships in 2010, which was followed by titles in Gold Coast and Adelaide.
Victoria has won the past three championships and has a new Metro and Country structure in 2013.