Football: boom in female numbers helps WA stay second in footy states stakes


Kara Donnellan of the Dockers leads the team out during the round five AFL Women's match between the Fremantle and Collingwood. Picture: by Will Russell/AFL Media/Getty Images
Kara Donnellan of the Dockers leads the team out during the round five AFL Women's match between the Fremantle and Collingwood. Picture: by Will Russell/AFL Media/Getty Images

A BOOM in female participation has helped WA hold its position as the second biggest footballing state in the country, behind Victoria.

2017 AFL Census figures showed a record 330,001 West Aussies took part in Australia’s game this year, up 9 per cent on 2016.

The female game experienced massive growth in the west, with a 28 per cent increase in participation over the previous 12 months.

Close to 93,000 girls took part in some form of football, including introductory schools programs, Auskick, social football and school football, this year.

The number of female players who joined clubs jumped 78 per cent to more than 7600, with the number of female club teams expanding from 157 to 214 to accommodate the growth.

The WA Football Commission (WAFC) said overall growth had been driven by introductory school football programs and a massive spike in girls playing the sport.

WAFC chief executive Gavin Taylor said the commission had achieved great success in the development of female talent, adding the focus was now on establishing a clear participation and talent pathway.

“There has been an explosion of interest around the AFLW competition, which has showcased to the whole football industry the quality and importance of female football,” he said.

“A total of 52 players have been recruited from WA for the AFLW competition, including 15 in this year’s draft, which has been a strong promotional tool in attracting more females to our great game.

“To support this growth, the WAFC will continue to focus on developing a clearly defined and well-resourced female participation and talent pathway, female football club guides and education sessions, and a strategic facilities plan which will focus on improving football facilities for our female participants.”

Of the 1,547,915 Australians to participate in football in 2017, 21.3 per cent were from WA.

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