On the Ball: Hectic start to footy season

Related coverage: Women's footy gallery: Strathfieldsaye v North Bendigo

Female football has come to the fore across the Bendigo region over the past fortnight, with senior, junior and inter-school matches as well as several coaching clinics.

Competition kicked off on April 14, when Bendigo Thunder unfurled the 2012 premiership flag at Dower Park in front of a large crowd that gathered to watch the grand final rematch. 

The Thunder dominated all over the ground to record a 102-point victory against an undermanned La Trobe University side. 

Two days later, I hosted a female football clinic at Bendigo Senior Secondary College. 

The girls were keen to learn some new skills and it was great to chat to them about the School Sport Victoria carnival on May 14, which they are eagerly awaiting.

A big thank you goes to Vicki Poyser for her fantastic support of girls’ football in this region.

On April 17, I accompanied SEDA students Melina Tatti and Grace Campbell to facilitate a football clinic at Weeroona College. 

It was wonderful to see so many enthusiastic girls at the clinic and I’m grateful to Shawn McCormick for organising and supporting the clinic. 

Last weekend, Bendigo Thunder headed down the Calder to take on Sunbury in round two of the Victorian Women’s Football League North West Division one competition. 

It was another emphatic victory for the Thunder, which held the opposition scoreless for the match and cemented its spot on top of the ladder. 

Sunday also marked the start of the Bendigo Junior Football League’s youth girls’ competition.

From all reports, there was a lot of skill and talent on display and it was fantastic to see the three new sides in the competition having fun. 

I extend a very big welcome to all coaches, players and supporters from youth girls newcomers Strathfieldsaye, Castlemaine and Kyneton.

On Monday, I was at Catholic College in Junortoun to take the 

year 7-9 girls through some basic football skills and game sense activities. 

I enjoyed working with such an energised group of girls, many of whom kept on asking “can we tackle yet?” 

Thank you to Andie Coughlan for her commitment to the development of girls’ football at CCB. 

Yesterday, School Sport Victoria held a female football carnival for local year 7-9 students, with games played at Strathfieldsaye. 

It was an extremely successful day with some great games of football. A tight grand final saw Bendigo South East defeat Catholic College by 12 points. 

Good luck to BSE as it progresses to the next round. 

School football is something I look back on with great memories with my friends and I hope the girls created some special memories, too. 

Finally, I would like to congratulate my Bendigo Thunder team-mate Jessica Blake, who has been selected in the VWFL All-Stars team that will take on the Australian Defence Force in the annual Anzac Day game, to be held at La Trobe University Bundoora tomorrow.

Emma Grant is the AFL Victoria-Bendigo Advertiser Female Football Ambassador for this region. Secondary schools interested in having Emma host a girls’ football clinic should contact Tony McNamara on 0419 103 178.

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