WHETHER it be as physios, rehab co-ordinators or dieticians, more and more women are making their mark at football clubs right across the country.
The off-field team at the Bendigo Bank Pioneers Football Club includes seven females playing a variety of roles in the 2013 season.
This weekend’s AFL Women’s Round is a chance to thank and recognise the many women who have helped make the game so great through their work, whether it be paid or as volunteers.
At the Pioneers, exercise physiologists Aimee Ryan and Liz Riddell team up with La Trobe University Bendigo students Tara Bewley, Sarah Lyons, Sarah Salau, Sarah Lay, Lisa Dervish and Kelsey Evans to treat injuries, and help recovery.
Dietician Jac Munge provides many tips on healthy eating, not just on game day, but throughout the week for players in the AFL Victoria TAC Cup under-18s competition.
Since she started working with the Calder Cannons in 2004, Aimee Ryan has seen many more women become involved at TAC Cup level.
As rehabiliation co-ordinator for the Bendigo Pioneers, Ryan is kept busy all-year round.
“There is training three nights a week, matchday, and also pre-season,” Ryan said.
“This year’s injury rate is not as high as what it was last year, but all the medical staff are kept busy.”
As rehab co-ordinator, Ryan works in with the fitness team to devise various exercises for the injured players to complete.
“At the end of the season there is still planning and workouts to do for those injured players who are likely to be on the list the next season,” said Ryan.
She said AFL Women’s Round was a great initiative, not just recognising those at football clubs, but encouraging more women to become involved.
Ryan studied at Australian Catholic University and Victoria University before starting work with Calder.
“I played basketball when I was younger, but I was always interested in football. Calder gave me a chance, and so has Bendigo.”
Ryan said the partnership between the Pioneers and La Trobe University Bendigo was a great way for the physio students to develop skills.