The Bega Bombers say they expect a twenty per cent growth in the AFL club’s player numbers this season as more young women and girls take up the sport.
That target is certain to be boosted this Sunday (March 8) when players from the Greater Western Sydney Giants attend a ‘come and try day’ at Roy Howard Oval.
Two of the Giants players will lead an afternoon of introductory drills and skills sessions designed to introduce new players to the game. The fun will start at Roy Howard at 2 pm and continue through until 5 pm.
The Bombers have fielded mixed-sex junior teams for the last three years and girls make up a substantial percentage of the teams. This season, with the introduction of a new under fifteen girls-only competition, the girls will have the chance to play on their own. The Bombers have made recruiting for this team a priority.
Kaela Barnes, a key member of the senior women’s team, will coach and recently attended a weekend seminar in Canberra to upgrade her coaching credentials.
She’ll be joined by Amelie Gautier as assistant coach. Amelie is a perfect example of how quickly someone can progress from novice to skilled player. Two years ago she hadn’t touched a football. Last year, still only 15, she became a key position player in the senior side.
“The girls have consistently held their own in the mixed-sex teams but we know there’s an untapped source of girls who’d be more comfortable playing on their own. This new team is for them. If you’re between the age of twelve and fifteen and you’ve always wanted to try something different, now’s your chance” says Kaela.
“Come and join us. You’ll be with a great bunch of girls who’ll support you all the way and I promise you’ll have fun”.
The last three years have brought a big change to the Bombers club and President Stephen Nicol puts that down to the growing number of women pulling on the boots.
“We can truly claim to be the family club”, he says. “Three years ago our senior team consisted mainly of the mothers of our juniors out there to have fun. They brought a new attitude to the game. ‘Team’ was terribly important to them and it was great to see the way they supported one another on and off the field.”
“This season Carlin Stanford will coach the women and they couldn’t ask for a better leader. She too has recently upgraded her coaching credentials and has already started pre-season training.”
The Bombers will offer mixed-sex competition for under 10, under 12 and under 14 teams as well as the girls only under 15 team, an under 16 boys team, and, for young women over the age of fifteen, a senior women’s team.
This season the club is also inviting interest in an ‘all abilities’ team under the direction of people skilled in dealing with people with disabilities. Later in the year, they’ll welcome youngsters for a season of Auskick.
“Family is very important to the Bombers,” says Nicol. “We understand how expensive it can be to offer a team sport to all members of the family. That’s why the club has structured its registration payment in line with the NSW Government’s Active Kids Scheme.”
“Present your Active Kids Voucher when you register and there are no other costs. The club supplies jumpers, shorts and socks. We even have a boot box where we encourage players to ‘recycle’ last year’s boots”.
The whole family is invited to come and meet the Giants, have some fun and register to play with the Bombers this Sunday (8 March) from 2 pm at Roy Howard Oval, under the bridge.