WAFL: former Bomber Ben Howlett back in Mandurah to take up playing and development role with Peel Thunder


Ben Howlett. Picture: Jon Hewson www.communitypix.com.au d479609
Ben Howlett. Picture: Jon Hewson www.communitypix.com.au d479609

DONNYBROOK product and former Essendon player Ben Howlett has moved to Mandurah with his family to play league for Peel Thunder and encourage women’s participation in football.

Howlett will also be undertaking the role of community development officer with the club.

The father-of-one gained his football bearings when he played in Peel Thunder’s under-18 team from 2004 for two years.

“I played three years of league football for Peel Thunder from 2006 until 2009 and then I was drafted by Essendon at the end of 2009 in the rookie trials,” he said.

“My first game for Essendon was 2010 and I was with them for eight years, played 124 games and then finished with them at the end of 2017.

“I’m now back in WA playing for Peel Thunder and surrounded by family and friends.”

Howlett’s role as community development officer means he will continue to spread the word about football in Peel.

“I’ll be heading out to primary schools and reaching out to students to try and grow interest in the game, and also work with our zoned clubs as well in the South-West Region and Peel Region.

“I’ll be doing junior club visits throughout the year, identifying different talent in the areas and tending to the overall promotion of the club.”

Howlett said he would be a major player in trying to put together a senior program for women’s football with the Thunder.

“We are in anticipation whether we get a license for women’s football in 2019,” he said.

“At the moment, we’re putting in a bid for it.”

He said Peel’s Thunderbirds women’s team was only classified as amateurs.

“Next year, the WAFL Commission want to develop a full blown semi-professional competition for women so similar to WAFL but just a senior female side,” he said.

“If we get the license, my role will be to basically help get a side together and recruit strengthening and conditioning coaches, medical volunteers and also identify the talent to form a competitive team.

“We would change a few things around the football club in terms of facility and also encourage women’s participation in the zone and junior clubs which is why I’m out promoting Peel Thunder and women’s football too with my new role.”

He said there was no stigma stopping girls from pursuing football.

“I think in some cases some women are overtaking the boys – it’s been crazy and participation is going through the roof compared to previous years,” he said.

“The Peel Thunderbird’s numbers are quite good.”

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