AFL Women’s round kicked off at the AFL Queensland Training and Administration centre in Yeronga with a gathering of women from all areas of football.
Administrators, umpires, coaches, dieticians, physios, media, volunteers and players joined together to celebrate the 2012 women’s round theme of leadership.
The event was also used to announce Masterchef star Alana Lowes as the new AFL Queensland Women’s Football Ambassador, joining ABC Radio presenter Kelly Higgins-Devine, in a role designed to highlight the females pathway of AFL.
A finalist in the 2011 series of the cooking show, Alana is also a former state representative and four time All-Australian AFL player.
Speaking at the launch, Alana said that despite growing up supporting AFL it wasn’t until she went to university that she started playing.
“I discovered that women actually played Aussie Rules competitively and I signed up straight away,” said Alana.
“I have always played sports, but I loved the excitement and quick pace of the game and worked hard on my kicking and hand ball skills.”
Alana said that with her playing days over, she was thrilled her new role would enable her to continue to be involved in AFL.
“I’m really excited to be the AFL Queensland Women’s Ambassador,” said Alana.
“I have hung up my boots but I still get that urge to have a kick every time I watch a game.
“I want to do all I can to support the game and encourage as many young girls and women as possible to get involved.”
AFL Queensland Female Programs Manager Julia Price said Lowes exemplified the women’s round theme of leadership.
“There are women leading the way in every aspect of football whether it is playing the game, umpiring, coaching or working for a club, league or state body,” said Price.
“Alana has achieved an enormous amount on-and-off the field and is a great female role model.”
Women in football statistics (nationally):
- Last year, there were more than 94,412 female players involved in NAB AFL Auskick, primary school competitions, youth girls’ competitions and women’s leagues.
- This represents a 29 per cent increase over a 12 month period.
- The start of 26 new junior and youth girls’ competitions attracted more than 5000 new players.
- And there are more than 700 female AFL football umpires – including Chelsea Roffey the first woman to be part of the officiating umpires’ panel on Grand Final day – as well as around 1500 accredited female coaches.
- 42 per cent of the national television viewing audience is female
- 35 per cent of AFL and club members are female, with an increase of 6,551 members last year.