Nearly 300 aspiring Gold Coast SUNS AFLW players have had the chance to train alongside their heroes this morning at Metricon Stadium.
AFL Queensland and the Gold Coast SUNS have hosted a free female football clinic for girls aged six to 17 with the entire SUNS squad taking part.
Head of AFL Queensland, Trisha Squires, said she was thrilled to see so many young girls get involved in the event.
“Within the first 24 hours of opening registrations for our celebrating female footy clinic we had over 150 girls sign up. Today we’ve got nearly 300 girls here taking part in footy drills, having fun with their friends and meeting their Gold Coast SUNS AFLW heroes,” she said.
“We’ve seen some amazing growth in junior and youth girls’ space over the past two years in Southeast Queensland and the sport is more popular than ever before with young women.
“Today’s event is all about keeping them engaged in the game and keeping them active. We have fantastic female role models in the SUNS team and it’s great to see the team get so involved in today’s session.
“We’ve got girls here who’ve come from as far as Brisbane and Ipswich because they want that unique opportunity to interact with professional female players.”
This year saw AFL Queensland launch an under nine girls’ competition for the first time. After three weeks of the competition, the teams’ numbers in the Gold Coast competition had doubled.
“We now have girls only competitions for girls to play from the age of eight. It’s a really important step in the female footy pathway and compliments the incredible work that’s been done in the youth girls’ space over the past few years,” said Squires.
“Of the near 300 girls here today about 30 of them have never played footy before so it’s never too late to get involved. We look forward to continual growth in our girls only competitions in season 2022.”
It was training with a twist for the SUNS players, who took part in their regular Saturday morning session, before the squad welcomed the influx of aspiring players.
Gold Coast SUNS Head of Women’s Football Fiona Sessarago said the club’s players loved any chance to give back to the community.
“It’s super exciting to see so many girls come down to kick the footy around with their AFLW heroes,” she said.
“We know how important our local community is to our club and we know we have a role to play to inspire the next generation of female athletes on the Gold Coast.
“18 of our 31 AFLW players are Queenslanders, so a large part of our strategy is to develop local talent and it starts at the grassroots level which is why programs like these are so important.”
Gold Coast SUNS kick off their NAB AFLW season in Mackay on January 9th.
GC SUNS 2022 NAB AFLW Fixture:
Round 1 – GC SUNS v GWS
Sunday January 9
Great Barrier Reef Arena