By Jed Lanyon
Woori Yallock Football Netball Club is preparing to field a women’s senior team next year following the success of the league’s first season in the AFL Outer East.
Women’s footy has exploded in popularity across the valley as Woori Yallock is set to join Seville, Emerald and Yarra Glen in hosting senior women’s teams along with the six teams who competed in this year’s season.
AFL Victoria football development manager Danny Ryan said that there is high demand for women’s footy as their very first come and try session featured 17 women, when other new teams were expected to feature a handful of participants at an early stage.
“It was the first time we had seen numbers like that for a come and try night. The growth in the women’s competition over the last 18 months has been incredible.
“There is a real appetite for women’s footy in the region,” Mr Ryan said.
One player, Nicole Kimpton, told the Mail that a further 80 women expressed their interest by joining a private Facebook group ‘Woori Yallock Women’s Footy’.
“I’m super excited, It’s exciting to be challenged and to try something new. I’ve played netball for a long time now and I think it’d be grouse to give football a go,” Ms Kimpton said.
“I’m excited to make some new friends, get stronger and be more confident.”
Ms Kimpton said that her friend Josette O’Donell, who helped create Healesville’s premiership women’s team, encouraged her to do the same for Woori Yallock.
“I’ve always wanted to play football, but I felt a bit intimidated going into other clubs when a lot of them already know what they are doing.”
Her future teammate Georgia Kogelman said, “I’m looking forward to getting involved with a group of girls in a team sport, getting fit and having fun.”
Like Ms Kimpton, she said she too had always wanted to play the sport and was excited at joining a new team at its formation.
“I have no idea what I’m doing. I didn’t even know how to kick a football. To come into a team that is brand new where heaps of people don’t know how to play football, it was a lot easier to join and learn and develop together.”
Ms Kogelman said her only experience with the sport was running water at her brother’s games and playing marks-up on Christmas day.
Ms Kimpton works for Eastern health and said that the team had been by the This Girl Can campaign.
“We want to reach a particular group of women in the community that may not have ever given sport a go. We want them to know that it’s never too late to get active.
“We encouraged women of all abilities to come down, have a laugh and some fun in a non-judgmental environment.
“VicHealth suggest that a reason for women being inactive and not giving sport a chance is because they fear being judged on their appearance and not being fit enough.
“Whilst recruiting, we remind the women that not all of us have played footy before so we are all in this together. We are hoping to focus on building up our fitness, strength and confidence.”
Woori Yallock will be hosting another come and try day for their senior women’s team on Wednesday 20 November at 6.30pm at Woori Yallock Recreation Reserve.
For more information about the team or to join, contact: email@example.com.