Victorian Women's Football League

The Victorian Women's Football League (VWFL) is the oldest and largest Australian rules football league for women in the world, made up of clubs from Victoria, Australia. It is an open age Women's Footy competition. It began in 1981 with four teams. Division 3 was added in 2001 and Division 1 Reserves in 2005. In 2004 the League affiliated with Football Victoria. In 2007 there were five divisions (Premier seniors & reserves, North West, South East & Country.) and 27 teams (from 20 clubs) in total, with approx 1000 women pulling on the boots.

The League adopts the rules of the Australian Football League with few alterations. The official ball a Sherrin used by the League is slightly smaller ball than the official AFL ball, to minimise hand injuries.

In 2003 the inaugural VWFL Country vs Metro match was played as an exhibition match. This game was a curtain raiser to an AFL match at Optus Oval. This game has been played annually since 2003. The game moved to the MCG in 2005 and has been played there over the Mothers Day weekend since that date. The VWFL also compete in the AFL Women's National Championships. The National Championships is a competition between state sides in which Victoria is undefeated. In 2005 Victoria entered an U 19 team for the first time and to the surprise of the competition the U19 team did so well it competed in the grand final with the Victorian senior side.

The League President for 2007 is Debbie Lee, who has been involved with the executive since 1993. In 2002 she made headlines for pushing to play against men in the made-for-television team the Hammerheads. She has commented, "My whole idea with the Hammerheads was to promote women's football. At no point in time did I really think I was going to play against the men, and frankly it wouldn't really have been smart for me to do that. My whole idea was to cause a bit of activity." [ [http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/05/30/1054177727028.html Women in a league of their own - realfooty.com.au ] ]

The profile of the VWFL grew strongly in 2007 as result of the work done by the VWFL Media Manager Leesa Catto, Debbie Lee and the executive committee. A significant partnership was developed with the Leader News group and weekly coverage was captured across the Melbourne Metropolitan area throughout the season. Events like the participation of two VWFL players Shannon McFerran and Daisy Pearce in the EJ Whitten Legends game also helped lift the profile enormously in 2007. [ [http://www.leadernews.com.au/article/2007/06/14/16430_vwfl_story.html McFerran to join the greats] ]

Milestones

2007 is considered by far the best year to date in the history of the VWFL. Following on from a $6000 loss in 2006 the Executive worked extremely hard to turn around the fortunes of the league and an amazing $19000 profit was posted at the end of 2007. Record crowds attended the finals series and the league played two games at the MCG including the premier division preliminary final. Two players reached the 200 game milestone - Belinda Bowey and Kerry Saunders both from the St Kilda Sharks while Debbie Lee finished the season on 199 games. Two St Albans Spurs played their 150th games in 2007 - they were Shannon McFerran and Belinda Miggiani.

Several milestones were reached in 2005. As the League celebrated its 25th birthday, Sal Rees made history by playing her 200th game of footy. She began playing in 1990 and has also been involved with the League's executive committee. She caused a stir in 1995 by applying for the AFL's national draft, which until then did not disallow women from taking part. [ [http://www.womensportreport.com/football1.htm] ] Another Darebin player Di Smith also played her 200th game. Di's achievement is all the more remarkable given that she is deaf and suffers from diabetes. Di was also awarded life membership in 2005. [ [http://www.vwfl.org.au/default.aspx?s=newsdisplay&aid=95105 Victorian Women's Football League ] ]

Game development for younger players

A U17 Youth Girls Competition was established by Football Victoria in 2004. This was following legal action taken against them in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (following a complaint to the Equal Opportunity Commission) by Penny Cula-Reid, Emily Stayner, and Helen Taylor. The three schoolgirls were banned from playing in junior leagues, with fears of expensive insurance liability in case of injury and "medical reasons" being cited by Football Victoria (i.e. the physical differences between the bodies of boys and girls). The court found in favour of the girls in February 2004. In response to the ruling, the U17 Youth Girls Competition began in May, with 122 girls participating.

Auskick, a national program designed to introduce the game to primary school aged children, has over 140,000 participants each year, about 12% of which are girls. Football Victoria has promoted the sport to high school girls in 2004, leading to leading to nearly 12,000 high school girls taking part in Australian Rules as a school sport.

Clubs

Premier Division
* Darebin Falcons, West Preston || [http://www.falcons.org.au Official Site]
* East Burwood Football Club, Burwood
* Diamond Creek Football Club, Diamond Creek
* Melbourne University Mugars, University of Melbourne, Parkville || [http://www.mugars.org.au Official Site]
* St Albans Spurs, St Albans
* St Kilda Sharks, St Kilda || [http://www.stksharks.com.au Official Site]

North West Division
* Braybrook Football Club, Braybrook, Victoria
* Geelong || Corio
* Heidelberg Football Club, Heidelberg
* Lalor Bloods Women's Football Club, Lalor, Victoria || [http://www.lalorwfc.org.au Official Site]
* Melton Supergirls, Melton
* Melbourne University Mugars, University of Melbourne, Parkville || [http://www.mugars.org.au Official Site]
* North Ballarat Football Club, North Ballarat
* Sunbury Lions, Sunbury

South East Division
* Berwick Women's Football Club || Berwick || 2004 ||
* Keysborough || Keysborough || 2008 || [http://www.keysboroughfc.vcfl.com.au/default.asp]
* Parkdale Vultures, Parkdale || [http://www.thevulturesnest.com Official Site]
* Scorsby Football Club || Scorsby || 2006 ||
* South Mornington Football Club, Mt Martha
* Yarra Valley Cougars || North Croydon || 2005 || [http://www.yvc.vcfl.com.au Official Site]

Facts and figures

Premiers: Division One

2008 Darebin Falcons
2007 Darebin Falcons
2006 Darebin Falcons
2005 Melbourne University MUGARS
2004 St Albans Spurs
2003 Melbourne University MUGARS
2002 Melbourne University MUGARS
2001 Parkside Magpies
2000 Parkside Magpies
1999 St Kilda City Sharks
1998 St Kilda City Sharks
1997 Albion Cats
1996 Fairfield Falcons
1995 Ballarat Lions
1994 Northcote Park Scorpions
1993 East Brunswick Scorpions
1992 Ballarat Lions
1991 East Brunswick Scorpions
1990 Ballarat Eagles
1989 Parkville Scorpions
1988 Parkville Scorpions
1987 Parkville Scorpions
1986 Gladstone Park 'Burras
1985 Aberfeldie Scorpions
1984 Aberfeldie Scorpions
1983 Hallam Cobras
1982 Broadmeadows Scorpions
1981 Broadmeadows Scorpions

Premiers: Premier Reserves

2008 East Burwood
2007 Darebin Falcons
2006 St Kilda Sharks
2005 Melbourne Uni Mugars

Premiers: North West Conference

2008 Heidelberg Tigers
2007 Hadfield Hawks
2006 Diamond Creek Demons

Premiers: South East Conference

2008 Scoresby Magpies
2007 Eastern Lions
2006 Berwick Wickers

Premiers: Country Conference

2007 Melton Centrals
2006 Geelong Cheetahz

Premiers: Division Two

2005 Lalor Bloods
2004 St Kilda Sharks
2003 Melbourne University MUGARS
2002 East Geelong Eagles
2001 Hadfield Hawks
2000 North Heidelberg Bulldogs
1997 St Kilda Sharks

Premiers: Division Three

2005 Diamond Creek Demons
2004 Berwick Wickers
2003 Surrey Park Panthers
2002 Mordialloc Redbacks
2001 Ferntree Gully Kangaroos

VWFL Life Members

2006 Chyloe Kurdas
2005 Di Smith
2004 Belinda Bowey
2003 Sally Rees, Rohenna Young
2002 Debbie Lee, Kerry Saunders
2001 Nicole Graves
2000 Lisa Hardeman
1999 Ann Rulton (whom the Volunteer Award is named for)
1998 Julie Allen
1997 Dianne Vaux
1996 Bernadette Marantelli
1995 Coral White
1990 Jan Wilson, Janet Graham
1983 Helen Lambert (whom the Division One Best and Fairest is named for - she is also the founding President of the League)

Top 10 Most Games Played (as at end of 2004)

195 Sally Rees (Darebin Falcons)
184 Di Smith (Darebin Falcons)
179 Kerry Saunders (Darebin Falcons)
177 Andrea Dalgleish (Melbourne Uni Mugars)
168 Di Vaux (Parkside Magpies)
166 Debbie Lee (St Albans Spurs)
163 Peta Searle (Darebin Falcons)
161 Belinda Bowey (St Kilda Sharks)
153 Nicole Graves (Darebin Falcons)
144 Kerri Piner (St Albans Spurs)

2004 All Australian Team Members

Coach: Greg Seton-Lonsdale (ACT)

Victoria

Lauren Bazeley
Moana Hope
Meg Hutchins

Debbie Lee (captain)
Shannon McFerran
Lesley Ann McGannon

Liz Skinner

ACT

Toni Alexandrow
Emily Diprose
Alana Lowes
Alison Smith

NSW

Stephanie Foster (voted Best & Fairest by the umpires)
Jemma Stills
Kerry Taylor
Megan Webster

NT

Shannon Byrne
Natasha Medbury

A

Kris Britt
Lauren Ebsary
Sheron Ford

Australian Defence Force

Emma Hender
Kelly McFarlane

References

ee also

*List of Australian rules football women's leagues
*List of Australian rules football leagues in Australia
*Women's Footy

External links

* [http://www.vwfl.org.au/ VWFL Official website] - fixtures, results, history, photographs
* [http://www.vcat.vic.gov.au/CA256902000FE154/Lookup/decisions/$file/taylor_v_moorabbin_saints_junior_football_league_and_football_victoria_ltd_%5B2004%5D_vcat_158.pdf VCAT ruling (PDF)]
* [http://www.freehills.com.au/publications/publications_1539.asp Analysis of VCAT ruling]

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