Story by Josh Pinn
Photos courtesy of Polly Fletcher / West Brunswick Amateur Football Club
The inaugural season of the AFL Women’s competition has had a massive success in the community. Not only in viewing numbers and crowds but also in the flow on effect on lower leagues. Victoria alone has seen an addition of more than 100 women’s teams in leagues across the state.
One league that has introduced women’s teams for the first time this season is the Victorian Amateur Football Association. After initially expecting 12 to16 teams in 2017, the VAFA has launched 42 teams across seven divisions. Making their home and away season debut last weekend was the West Brunswick Women’s team.
To overstate what this day meant to the women on this team is nigh on impossible. Some had never kicked a ball before preseason training. Others played as teenagers but gave up on the game when it seemed like there was no point pursuing it. Whatever their circumstance, they were playing a game as the first women to ever pull on a West Brunswick jumper.
Playing in the Women’s Grading Group 1 Division, the setting was the Westies’ picturesque home ground of Ransford Park in Parkville. Their opponent: their neighbours from the other side of the Melbourne Zoo, UHS-VU. Surrounded by the greenery that makes the inner north one of Melbourne’s most beautiful areas, West Brunswick controlled the game from go to woah.
In the end the Westies, under instruction from their coach “Dazza,” ran out winners 6.10.46 to UHS-VU’s 2.5.17. The scoreboard attendant, perhaps overcome with the significance of the day, managed to sneak another behind on behalf of the visitors. Team member, Polly Fletcher, says the girls may have to “incorporate maths into the drills” at training this week.
Regardless of what score it read, the scoreboard itself is a wonderful sight. Weathered, simple, classic. No bells and whistles here. The extent of its fancy is the casters on the bottom, making it easily portable.
Scoreboards, like pictures, are worth a thousand words. This scoreboard has taken in many a game at Ransford Oval. This is evidenced by the wear and tear, the small patches of rust on the numbers. This is the the first time, though, that this scoreboard has kept the score of a Senior Women’s VAFA match. Remember the score.
WB 6 10 46
VIS 2 6 17
Further reading and video: Polly Fletcher via SBS
I will never forget being told that grown up girls can’t play footy. It made no sense to my five-year old self. Why could the boy next to me play when he grew up but not me? He and I did the same things: we watched the matches and played kick to kick, didn’t we?
See also: Coburg City Oval, 2011