Warriors join women's football league

The Stawell Warriors underage team has already started training ahead of the season.
The Stawell Warriors underage team has already started training ahead of the season.

The Stawell Warriors will be part of history when it competes in the new Deakin University Underage Female Football League.

The new eight week competition will involve teams from Warrnambool, Horsham, Portland and Hamilton.

Warriors secretary Toni Stewart said there is a good vibe around the club, following the announcement.

“We had our first training night with about 20 girls attending on Wednesday,” she said.

“The girls will be coached by Andrew Bach and you could tell there was a lot of excitement around.”

The new Western Districts competition follows the success of the new AFL Women’s competition and aims to increase participation in girls football.

Stewart said it was important the club got involved and played its part.

“There is a real push for it at the minute, we just thought it was really important we were part of that,” she said.

“We had some girls who played in the juniors for us last year, so we wanted to make sure they had somewhere else to play this year after they get too old.”

Stewart said the club is still looking for some support from volunteers as well as sponsors.

AFL Victoria Country Wimmera football development manager Jason Muldoon said he was glad to see the league starting to come together.

“It has obviously been a huge collaboration when you bring teams from across Western Victoria together,” he said.

“But you do get really excited when you see it start to gain legs, with teams starting to train and girls getting excited about it.”

Muldoon said he does not have any expectations for the league but said the balance between fun and competition needs to be embraced if the league is to grow in the future.

“The main thing was to get it up and running first,” he said.

“But that has been a real focus, when we spoke to clubs, we said it has to be about fun and involvement to start with.”

The interest the league has generated has already pushed the season out to eight week.

The Stawell Warriors will open their season away from home against the Horsham Demons on May 7.

Stawell’s first home game will be against the Hamilton kangaroos on May 14.

The final round will be on June 18 before the finals are played at Hamilton’s Melville Oval on July 2.