THE pathway to a big future in footy is no longer just for boys.
Ballarat Swans youth girls dual premiership player Emma Lynch is one of two North Ballarat Rebels Academy members to earn an AFL Victoria Draftstar Scholarship this season.
She will be joined by fellow Rebels Youth Girls Academy member Lily Mithen from Geelong, and three others from metropolitan Melbourne at Draftstar camps over the course of the year.
A preliminary session was held this week in Kensington and involved a two hour skills sessions.
“Draftstar is a partner of AFL Victoria and through that we were able to secure these scholarships,” AFL Vic youth girls program manager Chyloe Kurdas said.
“We identified girls who have worked really hard with their footy and also their leadership off the field. These are girls who we have invested in, who will reinvest in the sport.”
Further camps will be held during school holidays in Geelong during April, in Melbourne during July, and will conclude with a two-day camp at the North Melbourne Football Club. The second camp is a three day residential camp.
There will also be exclusive access to the 2013 National AFL Combine at Etihad Stadium.
“We aim to replicate existing structures we have for boys for the girls. Our Youth Girls Academy is now embedded in the TAC club structure now,” Kurdas says. “We set up one at North Ballarat last year, and we’ve integrated our metro programs into Calder Cannons and Sandringham Dragons.
“We plan to expand from one to six by 2016 and our aim is to deliver a full under-18 state league for girls.
“That will support an Victorian state league AFL will roll out next year for women, and a national women’s competition by 2020.”
AFL Victoria has also offered five indigenous and five multicultural Draftstar scholarships.
Lynch, 15, represented Ballarat in V/Line and interleague matches last year, and was selected to represent Cricket Victoria in under-15 girls competition but was unable to compete due to a knee injury.
A year 10 student at Ballarat High School, she also plans to attend State Schools Victoria’s under-16 girls AFL squad selection at Craigieburn at Highgate Reserve. The tryouts are open to any girls who attend Victorian state schools who meet the age requirements.