Desire to grow female football participation

REDLEGS: Coach Bek McMahon (centre) with EP players Demi Clements, Bella Smith, Ria Sleep and Brooklyn George at a match last year.
REDLEGS: Coach Bek McMahon (centre) with EP players Demi Clements, Bella Smith, Ria Sleep and Brooklyn George at a match last year.

Ceduna will be the host of the Upper Eyre Peninsula female football ‘come and try’ session next week.

The session will be hosted at the Ceduna Blues Sports Club on Tuesday, September 11 and run from 5pm to 6pm.

The session will be held in conjunction with the SANFL and Far West Football League.

Included in the come and try event will be a fun skill session and also a discussion about the female football pathway with SANFL community programs coordinator for female engagement Natasha Hudoba and SANFL community programs officer for female engagement Bek McMahon.

Ms McMahon is currently coaching the Norwood SANFL Statewide Cup under 17 team and is also the captain of the Norwood Women’s Football side.

At the conclusion of the come and try session there will be an open meeting held for all people wanting to discuss the future of women’s football in the Upper Eyre Peninsula region.

SANFL game development coordinator Andrew Taheny said they would like to see women’s football continue to grow in the region.

“There is certainly interest to possibly replicate the successful Lower Eyre Peninsula Youth Girls competition which was held in Port Lincoln in February and March this year, with 75 girls participating in a nine-a-side format,” Mr Taheny said.

“For this to occur a committee needs to be formed to manage the process.”

Mr Taheny said the idea was to grow women’s football in the region alongside other already established competitions and sports.

He said there was not a desire to compete against other sports.

“The SANFL and Far West Football League are also mindful of the fact that netball and football work hand-in-hand across the Eyre Peninsula and together create a unique family outing,” he said.

“The introduction of a girls football competition will certainly not compete against netball.”

Ms McMahon said the session was a “fantastic opportunity” to grow the sport in the region.

“All SANFL clubs are lucky to have regional communities to tap into and it is great that we can go over to Eyre Peninsula,” she said.

“This will be a basic skills session so nothing too complex, it will be about giving the girls exposure and learning the fundamentals.

“The idea is to organise a competition to start with and once it gains traction we can look to build from there.”

There were a number of young Eyre Peninsula female footballers, including Ceduna’s Ria Sleep, who represented Norwood at the SANFL Statewide Super League competition in 2017, and Ms McMahon’s team in 2018 has once again included players from the region.