The Peel Football and Netball League’s vision for a senior women’s competition is becoming clearer thanks to a huge spike in participation in the Peel District’s junior girls league.
The number of young females playing footy in the Peel District has tripled in 2017, with the competition going from just six teams last season to 18 spread across 10 junior football clubs this year.
The competition’s steep rise in numbers is encouraging for the Peel Football and Netball League, which is exploring the options of holding a senior women’s competition in the coming years.
“It’s very encouraging for us to know the numbers are building up and that more girls are playing footy,” PFNL general manager Geoff Hiller said.
“We’re currently tracking those numbers to make sure that when we open a female competition it has enough players to support it.”
The Peel District’s junior female league currently runs through 10 clubs, with five of them being attached to a licensed PFNL senior club.
WA Football Commission Peel District development officer Elly Lambkin anticipates that each PFNL club will be attached to both junior and senior women’s sides in the near-future, as the league continues to expand.
“Numbers have tripled this year so if that rise continues, which we think it will, it only makes sense to have each senior club incorporate a women’s team,” she said.
“The problem we have at the moment is that many of our junior girls don’t have a means to keep playing once they get too old, so to have a senior competition in the region would allow them to continue playing the game they love.”
The stunning growth in the Peel District’s junior female football numbers can be attributed to the introduction of the AFL Women’s competition.
Lambkin said the exposure the elite-level competition gave to young girls was unprecedented.
“We’ve been running our local junior girls competition for about five years now and to jump from six teams to 18 in one season is massive,” she said.
All junior girls games in the Peel District are played on Friday nights, with the last round before finals set to be played this week.
The league runs across three age divisions, including school years 4-6, 7-9 and 10-12.
Anyone interested in playing in the league next season is encouraged to get in touch with their local club.
Clubs include Secret Harbour, Pinjarra, Baldivis, Rockingham, Safety Bay, Port Kennedy, Mandurah, North Mandurah, South Mandurah and Warnbro.