When the women form the Bega Bombers first women’s AFL team register on Saturday 25 February they’ll be treated to something a little different to the usual barbecue and ‘a few quiet cordials.’.
“There’ll be no sausage sizzle for them either,” Club president Stephen Nicol says coyly. “Instead, they’ll raise a glass of the best Australian champagne or, in the case of the younger women, a stylish mocktail to toast the team.”
The sign up session is set for ‘cocktail hour’ from 5pm at the Roy Howard Oval under the Bega Bridge.
Many are mothers and aunts of the club’s juniors, who found themselves in the thick of mixed family play at the end of last season.
Officials said many of the parents had never pulled on a pair of footy boots, but loved the experience on the field and are determined to pull a team together this season.
Maria McRoy might be typical. She’s a Kiwi and played rugby and league what she described as “some time ago” and only turned up to keep an eye on a youngster for a friend.
Now she’s the first to pull on the boots though she hasn’t yet been brave enough to tell the folks back home.
“She’d never seen a game but says she was glued to the screen last weekend to watch every game in the new AFL women’s league,” Nicol said – especially with the tackle format harking back to her former codes.
Nicol said “it’s not polite to talk about women’s ages, so I won’t” but did say the group was keen to welcome a bit of youth and exuberance.
Meanwhile, Bega trainer Adrian Day has also come on board to ensure all the players are fighting fit.
Day has been a strength and fitness coach with the Canberra Raiders, but has always been a friend to the Bombers since the club’s inception.
He has offered to work with the women’s team to boost their fitness so anyone signing on gets the additional benefit of some professional fitness advice.
With the booming popularity of the newly launched women’s league, this group, who had their first taste of Aussie rules last season are keen to get involved and welcome anyone who wants to play.
Nicol is serving as coach and launched the champagne idea.
“This is a very different football team,” he said. “They’re a very different group of women. They deserve to get the special treatment.”
He said the club wouldn’t aim too high in a debut season, taking the season “one game at a time, but we’re going to have a lot of fun”
Contact Stephen Nicol 0413138904