AFL footballers Andrew Walker and Ollie Wines will headline tomorrow's second annual Primary Schools Girls Football Day.By Luke McManus
Nine district primary schools will compete in the second annual Primary Schools Girls Football Day on Friday, with guest appearances from AFL footballers Andrew Walker and Ollie Wines to headline the event.
More than 100 students from St Mary’s, Echuca (208), Echuca South, Echuca West, Moama, Lockington, Rochester and St Joseph’s Rochester will descend on Jack Eddy Oval to take part in the round robin competition, which is expected to unearth the region’s next best female talent.
Walker and Wines will be joined by Lily and Grace Campbell from Bendigo Thunder Women’s Football Club.
AFL Goulburn Murray football development manager Trevor Mellington said the tournament, now in its second year, reflected the success and growing interest in girls football within the region.
Mellington hopes Friday’s event will encourage more players, and their families, to get involved in the program.
‘‘Girls footy is the biggest growing segment in Australian Rules football at the moment and we want to get on board with that in our region,’’ he said.
‘‘Having the Echuca youth girls team play for the first time in the Shepparton and District competition, and winning the premiership, there’s a buzz about girls footy at the moment.
‘‘For it to evolve and grow, we need younger players coming through. A primary school program like this is a great way to grow our numbers, make us sustainable and see growth in the whole youth girls concept.
The tournament is run and organised by AFL Victoria in conjunction with students from the AFL’s SEDA (Sports Education and Development Australia) program, and has attracted the support of local, regional and national sponsors, most notably Breast Cancer Network Australia.
All money raised on Friday will be donated to breast cancer research, with a tin rattle and a major raffle at the forefront of fundraising.
SEDA’s Mitch McLellan said the support of BCNA had been invaluable in raising the profile of the event.
‘‘We can’t thank Breast Cancer Network enough,’’ he said.
‘‘As much as we’re helping them out (with fundraising), they’re helping us out in a big way.
‘‘We’re just hoping to get as many people there as we can. It’s all about raising awareness for youth girls footy and raising money for a great cause.’’
The revised game format will see competing schools play each other once across seven rounds, with each game broken up into two eight-minute halves and a four-minute half-time break.
The first game is scheduled to kick off at 9.30am.
The two best teams at the end of the day will then play off in a grand final and vie for the perpetual trophy.
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