By: Jessie Hare
Rowville Football Club has announced plans to launch its inaugural senior women’s team for the 2019 Deakin University Eastern Region Women’s season.
The Rowville and Lysterfield communities are currently without senior women’s teams in the area, despite female football gaining more popularity.
For junior girls playing in Rowville and Lysterfield, they will now have a genuine pathway to go further with their football.
AFL community football support manager Tony Costanzo and Rowville president Paul Mynott have been working tirelessly for the past two years to make the program a reality for women.
“We always envisioned getting our female program up and running, so when we started two years ago, we decided to firstly start from the ground up, so with juniors initially,” Costanzo said.
“In the first year it was under-10s and under-12 girls.
“The second year we added under-14s and then naturally we are going to add under-16s next year.
“We wanted to set up a pathway program for all our juniors to then have the opportunity to progress through to seniors, so it’s the exact same as what our junior boys do.
“We decided this year as a club that the timing was right to introduce a senior women’s team for 2019 and have that pathway accessible for the girls not only at our club but also the other two junior clubs in the Rowville/Lysterfield area being Rowville Knights and Lysterfield Wolves.
“They’re just junior clubs and they are feeder clubs to us.”
The response so far for involvement in Rowville’s senior women’s side has been positive for not only coaching and admin roles, but for women to play.
“On our Facebook and our Twitter pages, there has been numerous comments from mothers of current players within juniors, siblings of current players, friends and partners of current senior players. The interest so far has been significant,” Costanzo said.
“This opportunity wasn’t afforded previously, obviously this is our first senior women’s footy team within our local community.
“By having this opportunity for them to come and try senior women’s footy in their local environment, I think it has generated a lot of local interest.”
After starting from complete scratch, Costanzo and the Rowville Football Club are looking to be able to development their senior women’s side first before thinking about what spot they could be sitting on the ladder next season.
“Ultimately at the moment, it’s about setting up that clear pathway for our juniors and local juniors,” Costanzo said.
“However, within the future what we would like to do is hopefully replicate our senior men’s program.
“We want to ensure that we follow the success for the women that is replicated in our men’s program and ensure that the women are treated equally with the men’s and we’re an integrated football club.
“For us, it’s not about winning – it’s about developing the senior women’s team, developing that pathway and developing the game in the senior women’s – that’s definitely the first goal.
“In time, with the club’s backing and full support we will then hope to grow that program even further and then hopefully, we will start to see some success.”
The Hawks will be hosting their information night on Wednesday, June 27 at Seebeck Oval from 7pm. For more details, contact Rowville president Paul Mynott via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call Tony Costanzo on 0409 691 969.