THERE will be no women’s team from Port Adelaide in the inaugural year of the national women’s competition.
However, Port Adelaide will increase its commitment to grassroots female football through a longer-term, sustainable women’s program under the watch of the club’s head of football Chris Davies.
“We’ve got a very broad football agenda in 2016 and female football is a significant piece of that pie,” Davies told portadelaidefc.com.au.
“But, in the short-term, the Port Adelaide Football Club is dedicated to building the women’s game and pathways for female players from the grassroots, rather than concentrate its efforts at the elite senior level.
“We want to develop our own talent here in SA - and that will give us the lasting foundation for not only a competitive national league team but a strong women’s game in this state.
“We will be increasing our investment in grassroots female football, which will include supporting senior and junior teams in the SA Women’s Football League, helping the SANFL’s state under-18s female team and developing a new elite female academy program.”
Not unlike its push to enter the nationalised Australian Football League in the early and mid-90s, Port Adelaide is committed to earning a women’s team licence in an elite female competition.
The chance to play on the national stage, Davies says, is something front of mind for the club.
But he says the long view is the best path for Port Adelaide to achieve that goal.
“As a community football club, Port Adelaide has always had ambition to compete on the biggest stage,” Davies said.
“We think our best approach to building for future national success for a Port Adelaide women’s team is to take the course we have now committed to.”
The initial phase of Port Adelaide’s women’s brand will be to build its football team in the state league.
It confirmed a formal partnership with the local women’s club earlier in 2016 and has already seen more than 50 players training with the program.
Port has ambitiously set itself a growth target of at least one Under-18 female team and potentially a second senior team in 2016.
The Port Adelaide women’s team will wear the club’s traditional black and white guernsey and train and play games at Alberton Oval with current Power and Magpies coaches including Shaun Hart, Tom Logan and Mark Clayton working to develop the talent.
A ‘Come and Try’ day will be held at Alberton on Tuesday 8 March from 6:30pm, with women interested in playing or switching from other sports to Australian Football encouraged to come along and tour the club.
“The only AFL-club supported female team competing in South Australia this year will be that of Port Adelaide’s,” Davies said.
“Playing for our women’s team will potentially open doors into the national comp, or into Port Adelaide’s own future elite women’s team.
“In the meantime, Port Adelaide is offering and elite training experience at Alberton Oval with our AFL and SANFL coaches, and state-of-the-art facilities to women who want to play footy this year.
“We think that, along with our work with the state Under-18s, this is what we need to do to have a real impact on growing grassroots female participation.”
Port Adelaide will hold a 'Come and Try' session for open-age and under-18 women at Alberton on Tuesday 8 March. Register at portadelaidefc.com.au/female
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