Footy action heats up as the mercury drops

CONTEST: Action from last week's annual Calder Cup challenge match. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

CONTEST: Action from last week's annual Calder Cup challenge match. Picture: JIM ALDERSEY

IN what could only be described as a wet and windy week, the female football action in Bendigo just kept heating up.

There was no time to cool off, with youth girls playing up to four games in seven days, including Bendigo Junior Football League, the Goldfields Inter-league Trophy, school competition and - for two clubs - a catch-up match.

The Bendigo Youth Girls inter-league side capped off their most successful season by taking out the Goldfields Trophy against Ballarat in impressive style on June 14.

Following their recent win over Shepparton, the girls came out blazing in the first quarter to take the lead.

The weather quickly deteriorated but the girls' endeavour did not and Bendigo went on to secure a solid win 8.11 (59) to 3.0 (18).

It was a fitting reward for the team's new sponsor, Fernwood Fitness.

As major sponsor of the BJFL Youth Girls program and to help the league promote girls' involvement in the sport, Fernwood has put together a great fund-raising package.

They are offering 21-day gym memberships for only $20, with many coupons including a free personal training session. The package is valued at more than $150.

Call Amy at AFL Central Victoria on 5434 2400 if you would like to buy one.

In school footy, the Alana Wearne-coached Castlemaine Secondary College took on Emma Grant's Bendigo Senior Secondary College on June 17 in the Calder Cup challenge.

BSSC "gifted" four of their players each quarter to top up a depleted Castlemaine in a great show of sportsmanship. But the move proved costly when Castlemaine clenched an eight-point win.

Spectators appreciated the attitude of the coaches and the great display of girls' football achieved as a result of this player sharing.

In local footy, Kangaroo Flat took out its fourth win for the season and Castlemaine and Huntly continued to dominate with convincing wins. Maryborough was unable to field a side against Strathfieldsaye.

Last Wednesday, a night game was played between Huntly and Strathfieldsaye. This match was postponed from round six because both clubs had a high representation in the inter-league team for its clash with Shepparton that weekend and had been unable to field sides.

Huntly adapted best to the challenge of playing under lights and won by 20 points, ending Strathfieldsaye's unbeaten run.

Bendigo Thunder endured another character building week in senior football, heading down the highway last Sunday to take on the St Kilda Sharks.

Thunder again received a footy lesson, losing 258 to 7.

As part of the Youth Girls Pathway Program, Huntly star Ruby Campbell joined the Thunder players to experience women's football.

“It was good to get a taste of such a high standard of football,” she said.

Coach Russell Jeffrey said to help the team grow to be competitive at that level, "we need to keep encouraging youth girls to join us here at Thunder when complete their junior years". More youth girls players will be given the opportunity to have a run with their role models throughout the season.

Thunder players have a well-earned rest this weekend as the AFL hosts its annual Women's Exhibition Match between the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Last year's exhibition game attracted 7000-plus fans.

To all the youth girls playing footy this week, remember: it’s all about fun, fitness and friendship.

I am looking forward to the week off and will hopefully get around to your games. Good luck - and don’t get blown away!

Grace Campbell is the AFL Victoria-Bendigo Advertiser Female Football Ambassador for this region. Contact Tony McNamara on 0419 103 178 to have Grace host a girls' football clinic at school.

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