WHITTLESEA Junior Football Club officials say a visit from AFL and AFLW stars Nick Daicos and Georgie Prespakis was a sign of big things to come, with plans to create an all-abilities Auskick programme.
Daicos and Prespakis visited the club on Sunday as part of an Auskick clinic, taking the club’s young players through a series of drills and posing for photos with the 2022 AFLW Premier Cup.
Tania Pyle, director of women’s football operations at Whittlesea Junior Football Netball Club, said it was particularly encouraging to see so many young girls on the program, with diversity and inclusion being a key focus for the club.
“An important thing for us at the football club is that we want the kids to start feeling like they belong somewhere… and to be inclusive in the community, where it doesn’t matter what race, someone’s gender or abilities,” she said. said.
“It’s a goal for us to have more kids involved in community events as well.
“We just want to support our community and get out there and have more kids involved in the sport without having to worry about accessibility.”
Ms Pyle said club officials were in contact with NAB AFL Auskick executives to discuss the possibility of creating a team of all abilities.
“We spoke to someone from Auskick and they want to help us in the future for support and the Auskick All Ability Program,” she said.
“It was one of our goals from the start of this year to eventually have a sports program in Whittlesea Township where children with disabilities can compete alongside other children.”
Ms Pyle said former Whittlesea junior footballer Chloe Molloy – now a member of the AFLW’s Collingwood Magpies – was unable to attend the clinic with other commitments, but the club’s juniors were delighted to meet Daicos and Prespakis.
“We have a number of young girls in the Auskick program who are crazy Geelong supporters and they come to the football every week in their Geelong kit. They were super excited to see Georgie,” she said.
Prespakis hails from Romsey, where she started playing football as a junior.
The club encourages its members to nominate volunteers or players who have contributed to the development of women’s soccer through a NAB grant offering $10,000 to local clubs.
Ms Pyle said if the club were successful the money would be invested in a range of initiatives.
“We’ve asked families to nominate someone from the club they like, hoping to put some money aside for next year,” she said.
“We have a digital scoreboard being worked on at the AF Walker reserve and we are also looking at having Aboriginal and Anzac Day riders replaced for our top women’s Under-17 and Under-18 teams. year.”
People can submit applications online at nab.com.au/aflwstars.