AFL South Coast Under-9s New Team Grant Closes Soon

Image courtesy of Shellharbour Swans Facebook Page

As part of the AFL South Coast Women’s & Girls Growth Strategy, AFL South Coast, in collaboration with AFL NSW/ACT, presented to all clubs in late 2023 the opportunity to apply for up to $500 in financial support. This support is to assist the establishment of the new AFL Shoalhaven Juniors and AFL Illawarra Juniors Under-9s Girls’ competitions launching in 2024.

These grants, available one grant per club who enters a team in their respective Under-9s Girls’ division, have only one week remaining before closure on February 16. AFL South Coast strongly encourages each club to make a submission and asks that the local AFL community remind club executive members of the grant process to ensure they don’t miss out on the support.

In addition to the available grant, the first 150 Under-9s girls’ participants to register in 2024 will receive a free pink footy with their registration as part of the AFL Pink Footy Initiative. To be eligible for the pink footy, a player must be registered by Sunday March 31 for their AFL South Coast club.

These footballs will be distributed to clubs, and they will provide successful participants with their ball at a time convenient to them.

As part of the long-term direction for girls’ participation, AFL South Coast also announced in late 2023 four new girls-only grades for the region, which have had very positive response to so far. Illawarra and Shoalhaven Juniors Under-9s Girls have both seen four clubs nominate teams, whilst the league will continue to work with clubs in establishing the new Shoalhaven Juniors Under-11s and Under-13s Girls grades.

With team nominations finalised, the AFL South Coast Juniors Under-15s and Under-17s Girls’ competitions have also grown, with one new Under-15s and one new Under-17s teams being nominated by clubs. This leaves these divisions with seven (U15s) and five (U17s) teams respectively and further consolidates the girls’ pathway being completed.

Stephanie Clarke, AFL NSW ACT Women’s & Girls Community Football Lead discussed with AFL South Coast the importance of these initiatives. “Following the amazing success of last year’s Girls-Only Auskick programs, it was crucial to establish opportunities in our competitions for girls only football.

“The team on the South Coast have done an incredible job in supporting clubs to get to this position, and we are thrilled that we can reward the clubs’ efforts with these initiatives. The AFL Women’s & Girls Action Plan aims to achieve a goal of 50-50 boys/girls’ participation by 2030, and the South Coast are showing this can be reality, having close to 40% of teams nominated in 2024 being girls only.”

Casey White, Community Football & Competition Manager – South Coast & Central West celebrated the clubs’ efforts when asked about the new competitions. “The entire South Coast has bought into the promotion of girls only footy, and I congratulate each club that has successfully recruited a team for these new grades.

“We are now in a position where every age group after Auskick has a girls-only option, and a very clear pathway for players aged five and above to aim for senior football. The 2024 season will be one of great celebration with these new competitions, and we hope our new participants have a positive experience.”

For more information about the new girls-only competitions or to register and join in the fun, find your local club at Play.AFL.