When my good friend Liz asked me to contribute to her blog I was chuffed especially as it basically gave me a forum to write about a subject I am so ridiculously passionate about. AFLW. Ironically many (and I mean many) years ago our very friendship was formed at the local football club through our parents. Back then we had no idea of what was in store for the football landscape or that we ourselves would go on to have daughters of our own who would love the game and yet now here we are watching history in the making.
In just under a month the AFLW juggernaut will be in full effect for season 2 and I CAN NOT WAIT!!! Yep I literally screamed that because I am so pumped for the AFLW to get started again and it’s safe to say that I’m not the only one. This year again will see 8 clubs playing off over 7 weeks for a spot in the premiership in week 8. It’s a short season but that doesn’t diminish the excitement of it all.
Women’s football is on the rise now more than ever and there is no doubt in anyone’s minds that season 1 was just a taste of what’s to come. A new year & major changes to the existing women’s football structures have meant that players and clubs have now upped their game (pardon the pun) and another page in the history books will soon be written.
Last year my daughter J and I walked in to Casey Fields with goose bumps to watch the second ever game of the inaugural season as our chosen team Melbourne Demons took on the Brisbane Lions. We sat through torrential rain, thunder & lightning watching that game but we loved every cold, soaking minute of it and our love for the game was 110% solidified.
J & I took our mother daughter bond to whole new level spending time everyday outside having a kick, watching games together, analysing plays and training together when I decided to join the local women’s team myself having never even played before while she continued playing juniors with a fierce determination knowing now the potential distance she could take her passion for the game. We met players who were exceptional role models on the field but who went above and beyond off the field to make the AFLW ride so far the most amazing & inspiring experience for a young fan who would spend the year graffiting all of her school books with the AFLW logo and putting up pictures of her favourite players on her walls.
If you know me you know that I could honestly fan girl all day about the amazing women who have shaped the new landscape of female football and I will in moderation over the next few months with game recaps & interviews all to come so stay tuned. For now however, I’ll leave you with my personal top 10 players in no particular order (although Paxy is without doubt the Van Berlo family favourite)
Karen Paxman (Melbourne)
Erin Phillips (Adelaide)
Jess Dal Pos (GWS)
Darcy Vescio (Carlton)
Mel Hickey (Melbourne)
Katie Brennan (Bulldogs)
Richelle Cranston (Melbourne)
Lauren Arnell (Carlton)
Alicia Eva (GWS)
Daisy Pearce (Melbourne)
Check out the fixture for the 2018 AFLW season here. Entry to all these games is absolutely FREE so you have zero reasons to not take the fam to check out these amazing women, including our fave Penny Cula-Reid, in action. You may remember having read about her last year as part of my #womeninsport series. She is now coach of the Collingwood side!!! Follow the AFLW’s facebook page to stay up to date with all the happenings. I for one am super psyched to see WNBL superstar Monique Conti take to the field for the Western Bulldogs in the first round. Click on the pic to read about her, ah-mazing!