Port Adelaide will field a women’s team in the South Australian Women’s Football League – the highest competition for SA female football – in 2016.
The Port Adelaide Women’s Football Club – nicknamed the Magpies – began in 2003, and will formally partner with the Port Adelaide Football Club in 2016.
The women’s club will form part of Port Adelaide’s drive to impact the female football space in South Australia as the AFL and SANFL ramp-up their commitment to improving participation among women and girls.
As part of the commitment, Port Adelaide will operate training and development of the women’s team at Alberton in addition to providing exposure to the elite environment of an AFL club.
Power and Magpies coaches like Shaun Hart, Mark Clayton and Tom Logan will also work delivering elite seminars to the team.
Recruitment will also be a focus for the club as it looks to help attract females wanting to play the game – and play for Port Adelaide.
Port Adelaide’s general manager of football Chris Davies says the Power’s drive to have a team in the national women’s competition isn’t its only focus.
Rather, he identifies growing the game from the bottom up as the club’s No. 1 priority.
“Fundamentally, we felt the best way to help the game develop from a female perspective was to invest in the grassroots level of the game,” Davies told portadelaidefc.com.au.
“The women’s Magpies have a special place in this community and they were an obvious first choice for what we’re wanting to achieve – we’re very excited they’ve come on board with us here at Alberton.
“The amateur league has led the way in regard to the female competition at senior level - the SAWFL runs under their banner – and have worked tirelessly to increase the profile of female football.
“We see our involvement in the competition as additional to the already significant work the amateur league is doing.
“Port Adelaide is a community club and we want to help get the game up-and-running for female participants – we feel that will be the most effective way to ensure great South Australian talent in the long term.”
The announcement follows Port Adelaide’s aim to drive greater female participation in the game through a range of initiatives, including:
- A commitment to establish a female football academy at Alberton in 2016.
- Announcing Olympic basketballer Erin Phillips will headline a Port Adelaide women’s AFL team if the club wins a licence.
- Port Adelaide will support the South Australian Under-18 women’s talent program in 2016 through the provision of expert coaching seminars and access to facilities at Alberton.
Player recruitment in the build up to the season will be important – Port Adelaide is keen to establish a sizeable playing group to support the team going forward so that it can field two senior sides.
“As part of the Port Adelaide Football Club we’ll have the opportunity to put some of the strategic plans we’ve had, in place a lot sooner than anticipated,” says women’s team president Clytie Wickstead.
“Of the many girls who play for us, some are local, but others come from all over town, simply because they want to pull on the prison bar guernsey.
“So we’ve already got many girls who want to pull on that famous jumper, and to have a structure in place where you can have the player pathway from Auskick all the way through is fantastic.”
Port Adelaide sent a letter to both the SANFL and Channel 9 Adelaide Football League affirming its commitment to grassroots development on Thursday.
The SAWFL is administered by the C9AFL, which is the state’s largest amateur football body.
Its chief executive John Kernahan said the involvement of Port Adelaide with the women’s football program will be good for the inclusion of female participants.
“The Channel 9 Adelaide Football League is pleased Port Adelaide have made this ongoing commitment to the SAWFL competition and to grassroots football,” Kernahan told portadelaidefc.com.au.
“We’re looking forward to working with the Port Adelaide Football Club this year and beyond to continue growing the game together.”
portadelaidefc.com.au will provide coverage of Port Adelaide's women's team throughout the year.
As part of its commitment to female participation, Port Adelaide is also encouraging talented sportswomen to join the AFL’s talent search trial on Sunday at Prince Alfred College. Read more and register
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