Female football season full of success and excitement
I WAS honoured to have been appointed the inaugural AFL Victoria Female Ambassador for the Bendigo region – the first such ambassador in Victoria.
Over the past 12 months, I have been actively promoting female football across the Bendigo region and have thoroughly enjoyed my time in various schools and football clubs.
Today’s column is a wrap up of season 2013 - an extremely successful and exciting year for female footballers across the Bendigo region.
April 8-9, V/Line Cup Carnival Melbourne: Bendigo Youth Girls represented their city with pride as they notched up their first win in V/Line Cup history with a 53-point victory over Hampden. They finished the carnival in 3rd place…a fantastic job by all involved.
April 21, Bendigo Junior Football League round one: Newcomers Strathfieldsaye, Castlemaine and Kyneton all played their first game in their debut season, showing the growth and potential female football encompasses in our region.
April 24, SSV female football carnival year 7-9: School Sport Victoria held a female football carnival for local year 7-9 students, with games played at Strathfieldsaye.
A tight grand final saw Bendigo South East beat Catholic College by 12 points.
April 26, VWFL Anzac Day match: Bendigo Thunder midfielder Jess Blake represented the VWFL All Stars in the annual Anzac Day clash at La Trobe University Bundoora.
She was opposed by Thunder team-mates Cherie O’Neil and Emma Grant, who played for the Australian Defence Force
The ADF took home the Anzac Cup with in a 22-point win, but all three girls represented Bendigo with pride.
May 4-11, National Youth Girls Football Championships: Huntly youth girls players Grace Campbell, Bree Gaylor and Isabella Ayre represented Victoria Country at the national championships, played in Shepparton.
May 14, SSV female football carnival year 10-12: Bendigo Senior Secondary College continued its impressive school football tradition, beating Weeroona College 47-0 then accounting for Catholic College Bendigo 29-0. Congratulations to the best players. Weeroona: Ruby Campbell, CCB: Ayrlea McClanahan. BSSC: Liz Watkins.
May 29, SSV Loddon Mallee regional final year 10-12: Bendigo Senior Secondary College travelled to Swan Hill for the Loddon Mallee region senior girls football finals. They won all three matches for the day and qualified for the state semi-final.
June 29, AFL women’s exhibition game: In a historic week for female football, the inaugural AFL women’s exhibition game was played on the MCG as a curtain-raiser to the match between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs.
It was the first time AFL clubs competed in an AFL-sanctioned women’s match. The teams were selected via the first ever female draft and featured the top 50 players from across Australia.
Although the Demon ran out 32-point victors, women’s football was the real winner.
July 31, Calder Cup: Castlemaine Secondary College defeated Bendigo Senior Secondary College in their Calder Cup girls' footy clash.
August 6, SSV semi-finals year 10-12: Bendigo Senior Secondary College went to Craigieburn for its semi-final after taking out the Sandhurst and Loddon Mallee regional titles.
With an under-strength team due to injury and school commitments, it was always going to be a tough day. Though they didn’t get the result they wanted, BSSC played some fantastic football.
August 11-17, School Sport Australia football championships: Huntly youth girls forward Isabella Ayre represented Victoria in the School Sport Australia 16-and-under female football championships in Darwin.
Victoria went through the preliminary rounds and semi-final undefeated, but lost the decider against Western Australia by five points.
Ayre played most of the carnival in the ruck, as well as booting eight goals, and her efforts earned her selection in the All Australian team.
August 16, SSV finals year 7-9: The Bendigo South East Dragons travelled to Melbourne for the School Sport Victoria girls' football semi-finals. They scored three wins over Greensborough, Sunbury and St Brigid's Horsham, ensuring their spot in the junior girls' state final against Lavalla Sale. Lavalla was too strong in the final quarter and won by 14 points.
August 17, VWFL North West Division 1 Grand Final: Bendigo Thunder players, coaches, support staff, volunteers, fans and sponsors celebrated the perfect season with the grand final win in Melbourne.
September 15, BJFL Youth Girls Grand Final: Congratulations to all involved in the Castlemaine Youth Girls Football team on their courageous grand final win over the Huntly Hawks in their inaugural year.
Next year, the Bendigo Junior Football League is hoping to have some new teams in the youth girls competition.
Kangaroo Flat Junior Football Club is putting a team together, so if you are keen to get involved or know someone you think would enjoy our fantastic game, contact Scott McLeod for more details on 0408 315 509.
As this is my last column I would like to say a big thank you to the team at the Bendigo Advertiser for their support and guidance over the past 12 months and in particular, Raelee Tuckerman for her amazing encouragement of my articles and female football across the region.
To the readers, I hope you have enjoyed my column this year as much as I have. I look forward to seeing what female football in 2014 has in store for us here in the Bendigo region.