When I was growing up in Brisbane, Aussie Rules football wasn’t offered as a school sport – and there weren’t any professional female role models to look up to and learn from. Despite these limitations, we got resourceful. We organized football games in our lunch breaks with friends, using soccer or rugby goal posts and adding sticks or cones to serve as point posts. We practised accuracy using rubbish bins as targets.
A decade later, women have truly made their mark in the AFL. There are, however, many barriers still facing aspiring footy players — including access, cost, mobility and, more recently, lockdown restrictions. We still have to be resourceful to keep active and hone our skills.
Three years ago, the AFL and Google first teamed up to help footy fans better connect with the games and players they love. Since then, we’ve been thinking about ways we could improve access to Aussie Rules coaching and community participation – regardless of ability, gender, location, culture or socio-economic background.