Youth girls footy expands

FEMALE football continues to grow rapidly in central Victoria, with two new teams set to enter the Bendigo Junior Football League's youth girls division in 2014.

Kangaroo Flat and Maryborough will field sides in the under-18 competition, which kicks off on April 6.

They bring the number of youth girls teams in the league to eight - double what it was just two seasons ago.

Kangaroo Flat will be coached by Mark Hull, while Maryborough will announce its coach soon and start training in March.

AFL Victoria Country football development officer Tony McNamara said youth girls football could expand even further in coming years.

"Bendigo and the surrounding area has a population over 100,000, so there's a capacity to field even more youth girls teams.

"There is now a pathway in place that girls can play from age 13 through to senior level in this region.

"We hope to trial an under-12 or under-14 female-only competition in May this year, in conjunction with the BJFL, and that would complete the pathway for girls to start in Auskick and continue playing at any age."

Kangaroo Flat spokesman and BJFL president Scott McLeod said his daughter had played for Strathfieldsaye and he knew of about 10 Crusoe College students who travelled to youth girls clubs in other suburbs last season.

"We thought if our club made it more convenient, how many girls could there be if it was just a short walk down the street instead of a drive across town?" he said.

Maryborough committee member Terry Hillier said his club already had 25 girls keen to play.

"(Local student) Chamika Sadler has been involved in indigenous football camps with Richmond and I asked her to get a list of interested players," he said. "She put it on Facebook and had 19 interested girls in an hour."

Both clubs are holding information and registration days on Sunday, February 23.

Kangaroo Flat players can register at Dower Park from 10am-noon, while Maryborough girls can sign up at Princes Park from 10am.

For more details, phone Jodie McLeod about Kangaroo Flat on 0419 305 208, or Terry Hillier at Maryborough Education Centre on 5461 7900.

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