CENTRAL Victoria’s rising female football talent will get a huge opportunity this Friday, when Richmond hosts an invitational VFLW talent day in Bendigo.
As many as 80 aspiring elite level footballers will be put through their paces by the Tigers VFLW staff at Queen Elizabeth Oval from 4.30pm to 6pm.
Richmond AFL Women’s operations manager Kate Sheahan said the Bendigo tryout followed a similar talent day run at the Tigers’ Punt Road Oval base last month.
“It’s invitational only, which is really important,” she said.
“If you run a come and try day that is open to everyone, you simply cannot identify talent – there are just too many people.
“We’ve gone to our (Next Generation AFL Academy) region and asked the guys in the region, whether it be AFL Central Victoria, or Goulburn Murray, Bendigo Thunder, Bendigo Pioneers, Murray Bushrangers, to nominate females you identify as potential footballers.”
The Tigers will field a side in the VFLW competition for the first time in 2018, ahead of their entry into the AFLW league in 2020.
Sheahan said invites had been extended to footballers aged 17 and above.
“There is a girl we have just signed on our list who is 36, so we are not restricting it,” she said.
“We just want to find the best females out there and provide an opportunity no matter how old you are, what your working situation is, or whether you are a mum.
“(Age) is irrelevant as long as you can play football, train hard and have the right mindset and values, we want to have a look at you.”
With the Tigers set to enter the top-tier AFLW competition in 2020, Sheahan –a former Collingwood AFLW listed player – said it was an exciting time to be involved at Tigerland.
She said plans were advanced to use Bendigo as a training-base once a week for its regional-based VFLW listed players.
“The country Victorian AFLW girls at the moment are doing a hell of a lot of travel,” Sheahan said.
“Some of the Bendigo girls are required to be down in Melbourne four days a week – that travel time alone is killing them – and they are trying to balance that with full time jobs.
“We want to support the girls in the region and have the best playing standard alone, but not have them travel crazy hours to facilitate their football.”