This term the year eight girls from Matthew Flinders Anglican College are currently being introduced to Australian Rules football.
Flinders is well renowned on the Sunshine Coast as being one of the heavy-weights in Rugby Union, however AFL is making its mark at the school.
Currently, 40 girls from Year eight are involved in the AFL Queensland Sport Education Program where they are being taught the basic skills of AFL.
As well as this, the girls have the opportunity to learn more about the game by being given the responsibility of umpiring, time keeping and scoring while the other girls enjoy a game of footy.
During the games the girls are also given the chance to learn and understand more about the rules of the game with expert tips from AFL Queensland staff, and Ben Stanley, who is not only their physical education teacher, but a well respected AFL identity on the Coast.
During the first few sessions, the girls went through a few skills to ensure they were adequately prepared for when they got into games.
When the girls began playing their games they were split into three even teams.
Those who missed out on those roles undertook further skills sessions to help improve their game.
Ben Stanley is known for his coaching finesse and is currently a Lions Academy coach alongside his employment at Matthew Flinders and has been pleased to see the interest of AFL at his school increase.
“The girls at Flinders have really enjoyed the unit of AFL, their skill development has improved a great deal in the last month,” Stanley said
The girls who are involved this term have also talked of how they are enjoying learning the skills and the rules of the game.
Flinders student, Rachel Walsh is starring when the girls play a game going in and under packs to get the footy as well as kicking a bag of goals on numerous occasions.
It was then discovered that this was not the first time Rachel has held a footy before, unlike many of the girls.
Rachel is a regular in the Maroochydore Roos Under 15 Youth Girls team.
When asked why she enjoyed playing the game so much, Rachel answered:
“Being able to tackle people,” Rachel said
Another girl who puts in 100 per cent each time is Phoebe, a new student who only two months ago moved from England.
Australian Rules Football is completely new to Phoebe and it is not surprising to see and hear how much she is enjoying the game.
“I like the way you pass the ball and that there are four posts to score in,” Phoebe said.
Stanley has been showing the girls clips of the game through YouTube.
“The girls seemed to really enjoy the physical aspect to our game, for that reason, the girls’ games have been modified to involve tackling,” Stanley said
“They also loved watching some speckies in the highlights package, I am expecting a few girls to try and replicate the professionals work and attempt to fly high and tackle hard in the last few weeks of the program.”
Words and Photo Alex Bateman