ESTABLISHING a Female AFL Academy in Wagga was a ‘no brainer’ according to AFL NSW-ACT female programs manager Libby Sadler.
Sadler and former Sydney Swans player Tim Schmidt visited Wagga on Thursday to discuss this week’s big announcement regarding a new Academy in the city.
The Female AFL Academy will kick off in January as part of four to be introduced across the state.
“The Academy is just about providing an opportunity for our female football talent to come up and through the ranks,” Sadler said.
“In terms of schoolgirls and our under 18s, a third to 50 per cent of our talent identification is coming out of this region.
“There’s some great footballers that are playing under 12s, under 13s, hitting that under 14 age group bracket, by that stage they have been playing full field, full rules, mixed footy, so they are coming up as 15-year-olds into our talent pathway and they’re just killing it.”
Sadler expects great results from the Wagga Academy.
“It’s amazing down here,” she said.
“They grow up with it , they know it, they’re passionate about it.
“They’re out the back kicking footys with dad and their brothers, it seems as though it’s embedded within the girls down here.
“Game sense and they’ve got that background in it.
“If they choose this pathway then they’re futures are really bright. It’s a great opportunity for them.”
AFL NSW-ACT is calling for expressions of interest from female footballers in the Womens (open) and Youth Girls (14-18 years) divisions.
The Academy will start on Wednesday January 20 with local coaches to be appointed.
The first three weeks will be testing before the squads are chosen to undergo the program for the remainder of the year.
It will closely follow the Giants Academy, a program that is now a proven success.
“It’s also about providing that long term sustainable model for the girls, to know that regardless of what’s happening at national level, we’re providing an elite talent pathway for them to come through,” Sadler said.
“With the unprecedented success of the male program this year, we know that the model they’re running here works so it’s definitely a no brainer to jump on the back of that and run a similar program for the girls and provide them with that opportunity.”
Schmidt is AFL NSW-ACT’s female football high performance coach and he hopes to see Riverina girls making it to the new national women’s competition that will be introduced in 2017.
“That’s the whole plan of these talent pathways and programs is to ultimately get them to play at the highest level, with the national teams coming in 2017,” Schmidt said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.