Story Stuart Amos – Photos Eve Jeffery
Round 14 of AFL recognised ‘Women in AFL’ with the inaugural Women’s Game played on Saturday, featuring 50 female footballers from across the country representing the Melbourne Demons and the Western Bulldogs.
Saturday’s Metricon Stadium game between the Gold Coast Suns and the Adelaide Crows played their part by having a guard of honour of female players to welcome the Suns onto the ground as well as an all-girls NAB Auskick game during half-time.
Local kids from the Northern Rivers were given the chance to be a part of the stadium celebrations with Ruby Edmeades of the U14 Byron Bay Junior Magpies team attending the game and spending time down in the Suns pre-game warm-up area. ‘Ruby is the only girl in a 78-member strong club and first ran onto the ground at the age of eight in a tutu’, says team coach Tim Peacock.
The AFL announced the latest statistics concerning women in football and there are now over 136,000 female players across the country, from Auskick to senior level, 5500 female coaches, who make up 35% of club coaches, 2000 female umpires and women also make up 35% of volunteers involved.
The game between the Suns and the Crows was watched by 13,791 spectators and was a bumper match between the 11th and 12th teams on the ladder. Both teams came into the game after a fortnight break having had their mid-season bye in Round 13.
For the Crows the bye couldn’t have come at a better time having lost their past three matches, the most recent being a 38-point submission at the hands of Richmond at Etihad Stadium and the Suns’ last four games has yielded the same amount of wins as the Crows, yet McKenna’s young side enter this game far more bullish than their opponents.
Gold Coast, led by a best on ground display by Dion Prestia, fought back to reduce the margin to eight by the final change but the Crows proved too strong in the fourth quarter against a fading Suns to claim a comfortable 16.15 (111) to 11.17 (83) victory.