Southern NSW loss to AFL Canberra an early step in the journey for women's AFL

A combined Southern NSW women’s team found plenty of positives out of their first representative game despite a 16.10 (106) to 2.5 (17) loss to AFL Canberra. 

Pulling together players from across the Riverina and Albury, Southern NSW faced a huge task against experienced opposition. 

A first-quarter blitz had them on the back foot but the home side found form particularly in the third quarter when they spent plenty of time forward, and kept Canberra to just two goals. 

“It was a fantastic opportunity, a  lot of the girls haven’t played at this kind of level before,” captain, and GWS Giant, Clare Lawton said.

“Once the girls started getting a bit more confident in their abilities we were getting the ball down there. I think the more opportunities we get in the future, the better, because it’s only going to develop the girls further.”

AFL Southern NSW manager Steve Mahar said it was a key step towards establishing a women’s competition in the next couple of years. 

“We only scratched the surface, today’s just the start of the journey and hopefully in two or three years time Southern NSW have their own competition and footy thrives as well as the men’s game,” Mahar said after spending the game as assistant to SNSW coach Matt Carroll.

Lawton said remembering to keep the game simple and concentrate on the basics is the most important step for players starting out. 

Hay’s Jodie Hicks was the pick for Southern NSW. 

Completing a good day out for AFL Canberra, their under 17s were too strong for the Riverina League, surviving a late surge in the final term to win by five points. On the courts, Netball ACT were too strong for the Riverina League in the opens, but Mikaela Cole led Riverina to a seven-point win in the under 17s.