AFL England

Women’s Footy Clinics

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Fresh off the success of the GB Swans in the summer and keen to invest in the new crop of British talent there have been two University based taster sessions taking place in the last week.

The first was at Cambridge University, where GB Swans and England Vixens players Lisa Wilson (Wimbledon Hawks), along with Laura Turner and Jo Strong (Nottingham Scorpions) delivered a session to 16 budding new female Aussie Rules players. The second was by GB Swans Head Coach Ian Mitchell at University of Birmingham.

British University Australian Football has been established for a long time, albeit in isolated areas of the country. Birmingham University first established their men’s team 9 years ago and their women’s team 4 years ago. Oxford and Cambridge men’s teams have the notoriety of being the longest running Australian Football fixture outside of Australia. Records show the teams have faced off against each other every year since 1911.

The ripples of the success of AFLW in Australia are being seen here in the UK with many clubs keen to set up
Women’s teams. A wise woman once told me ‘where women go, men will follow’ and this was certainly evident with the Cambridge University men’s team also attracting many new players. The challenge now is for both Universities to provide good quality, regular coaching for the ladies (and men of course!) and to schedule fixtures for players to put their new found skills into practise.

Experienced player Lisa Wilson will soon be relocating to Hamburg in Germany where she is keen to run more of these sessions to help grow the game on German soil. A woman who is hell bent on expanding the engagement of women and young people in Australian Football, has her sights set on establishing the first German women’s team to compete in the Euro Cup in 2018, aswell as helping other European countries to grow the game.

Some of the men’s teams who compete in the Central, Northern England league are establishing women’s teams. It is hoped that women who try the game at University will be able to play more competitive fixtures in 2018, whilst continuing their training out of term time with these established clubs. Nottingham Scorpions, Manchester Mosquitos and Wolverhampton Wolverines are all looking for new female players and will be hosting women’s taster sessions between now and the start of the season in May.

If you’re interested in trying Australian Football you can strike while the iron is hot! Get in touch via the AFL England website and follow AFL England and GB Swans on social media for information on upcoming taster sessions!