AFL Goldfields commissioner Sue Brown is leading the charge to launch a state league women’s team for the region in Ballarat.
Brown said while Ballarat may not be ready to have a VFLW side right at the moment, it was a good time to put the steps in motion.
AFL Goldfields is planning to meet with AFL Victoria at the end of this season to discuss what Ballarat needs to secure its own team.
Brown said turning the vision into reality could take years, but believed Ballarat was in a good position.
“We’ve got a lot of work to fast track the girls in their football to get them to the skill level they need to be, but we’ve got everything here to suggest that we could have a female VFL side,” she said.
Working in Ballarat’s favour are the facilities on offer including the AFL standard Mars Stadium, growth within the junior female competitions and development programs such as having TAC Cup Girls squad the Greater Western Victoria Rebels.
Brown said a VFLW team would complete the pathway for Ballarat’s footballers and mean they would not have to relocate if they wanted to play the game at a higher level. Already the AFL Goldfields Women’s League boasts a number of players who are competing in AFLW and VFLW competitions.
“We need the depth of girls to be able to play at that level, but we’ve got to start somewhere and I believe we’ve got everything right that we should now be working towards it,” Brown said.
“It might happen quicker than we know… but we want to do it properly.”
She believed having a VFLW team train and play in Ballarat would not only give players an opportunity close to home, it would also motivate and inspire young girls.
“You only have to see the amount of growth of female football because of the AFLW,” Brown said.
“We should be having that pathway locally where they (young girls) can have access to them.”
Already there was an appetite in the community and excitement building around the idea, with the vision a talking point at the region’s football finals.
“We have the right ingredients here to help it grow to get to that point… we’ve got the ingredients to put up a good case,” Brown said.