Final Piece of the Puzzle In Place for Western Sydney Juniors

Originally published on Hills Shire Times

They are only young but these AFL enthusiasts from Sydney will soon be sporting trailblazers.

The introduction of AFLW has sparked an explosion of interest in the girls and women’s game in Sydney’s west with a crucial competition being introduced for AFL Western Sydney Juniors in 2020.

From April, girls of all ages in the competition will be able to play all the way through from the under 10s to the opens for the first time.

Mackenzie Lillia, Piper Lillia, Millie Spencer, Abby Croucher and Aubrey Chobdzynski, 4, are part of a new wave of girls interested in AFL.

Already multiple clubs have either confirmed they will enter teams or expressed interest in doing so in the Baulkham Hills Hawks, Blacktown Suns, Kellyville/Rouse Hill Magpies, Camden Blues, Ingleburn Magpies, the Blue Mountains Kangaroos, Emu Plains/Glenmore Park Lions, Penrith GIANTS, Greystanes Goannas and the Parramatta Lions.

Regional manager for Greater Western Sydney AFL Rebecca Marshall hopes eight clubs will compete in the first competition.

“AFLW has triggered this explosion. The players are the young girls heroes,” she said.

“We have great access to the girls with Erin McKinnon and Haneen Zreika who come Come and Try Days and do school visits and trainings.

“They showed them this can be a pathway.”

Marshall said while girls could play in mixed competitions in the past it wasn’t until 2016 that there was an under 15 girls camp for the first time.

Now, four years in the pathway is complete with a dedicated female competition in the area for all girls to play footy from eight to 18 years of age.

“We have 800 girls forecast to play in the 2020 and that’s 25 per cent of total juniors in Sydney’s west,” she said.

“Girls want to play with their mates and to do it from as young as eight right up to 17 with the same group of girls, that’s really important.”

The inaugural U10s girls competition will commence with a Come & Try round on April 5 with the competition officially commencing on 26th April.

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