As we edge closer and closer towards the end of the year, that means we are edging closer and closer to the launch of the AFL women’s competition set to begin in February 2017.
In June, it was announced that 8 clubs were successful in obtaining a licence to have a women’s team in the inaugural competition. These teams were the Fremantle Dockers, Carlton Football Club, the GWS Giants, the Brisbane Lions, the Adelaide Crows, Collingwood Football Club, the Melbourne Demons and the Western Bulldogs.
The teams that made a bid but were unsuccessful will be granted provisional licences with the idea of expanding the competition in 2018.
Bryan Fletcher, Amanda Shalala and myself were lucky enough to be joined by Jess Cameron who plays for the Melbourne Stars in the WBBL and is also an AFL player to hear her thoughts on the new competition.
1. Jess on how excited she was when the announcement was made about the teams to be given licences to field a women’s team.
“I was very excited like every other VFL player at the moment with the 8 teams that were announced. It now means that there is an opportunity for women in the AFL so everyone is pretty excited. We just want next year to come.”
2. Jess on whether it seems more real now that the teams have actually been announced.
“I think that is how everyone felt. When the concept was first being spoken about it was for 2021 and now we are here and it is going to be happening in 2017. I think all the successful teams have put in good bids and deserve to have a team.”
3. Jess on her decision to walk away from a professional career in cricket as a Southern Star to pursue AFL.
“My headspace at the time when I decided to walk away from cricket wasn’t great. I was juggling full time work, have a family and play cricket just got a little bit too much and I couldn’t give my team mates the 100% that everyone else was giving. I just decided at that particular time that I just needed to have a break and sort a couple of things out.”
4. Jess on why she has decided to continue playing for the Melbourne Stars in the WBBL.
“It was my headspace. I’m in a really good headspace at the moment and feel like I can commit to a cricket season and I am glad that the Melbourne Stars decided to put me on their list.”
5. Jess on what she loves about AFL.
“It is competitive. It is such a great team sport and the physicality is what everyone strives for.”
6. Jess on making her debut for Diamond Creek and kicking 9 goals and the shift from cricket to AFL.
“It is completely different – there are a few different skills involved. I guess catching a cricket ball and marking an AFL ball is quite similar but the fitness levels are different. You probably have to be a bit fitter to play a whole game of AFL than you do a game of cricket. Not to say that you don’t have to be fit to play cricket but it’s a bit different.”
7. Jess on her idols growing up.
“Nick Reiwoldt – I’m obviously a St Kilda fan. When I was young I used to go and watch them play. Even Robert Harvey and Nathan Burke, I looked up to as well. I know they are all St Kilda players but when you grow up watching St Kilda, that’s natural.”
8. Jess on the particular team she is hoping to get drafted by.
“I was pretty lucky that the Melbourne Demons had me on their list for the recent exhibition game. I would like to see myself back there. But you have no control over that so for any team to pick me up, I would be pretty stoked. I’m just glad Melbourne gave me the opportunity to show my skills a little bit.”
9. Jess on what it has been like to be part of the academy and train with women like Daisy Pearce.
“I have had a lot of chats with Daisy over the last couple of months while we have been in the academy, asking her questions relating to footy and how it is all going at the moment and what position I should play. We are pretty lucky to have someone like her in and around especially when younger kids are coming up and can have chats with her and aspire to be like her”.
10. Jess on what she hopes the women’s competition will look like in 10 years.
“I would like to say that every team would be able to have a women’s team. 10 years is a very short space of time but the work the AFL is doing with all their academies, clinics and the pathways the girls get, I can see in 10 years time how it will grow. But that is really big picture.”
11. Jess on AFL and cricket being the leaders when it comes to women’s sport.
“I think I am very lucky to be involved in both at the moment. Obviously cricket coming out and saying that they are going to pay their players more – those girls really deserve it having won a couple of World Cups in recent years and they deserve to be paid professionally. That’s what kicks everyone else in the bum and says to them ‘come along with us’.”
Ladies who Leap xxx
P.S. To hear the rest of the show click here.