Standing ovation for women’s football

RELATED COVERAGE: Galaxy gravitates toward premiership

RELATED COVERAGE: Galaxy shoots for the stars

GIPPSLAND League chair Greg Maidment says the instant success of Gippsland Galaxy shows the demand for women’s football in Gippsland.

The Galaxy was founded in February, just two months out from the start of the Victorian Women’s Football League season.

Not only did organisers manage to field a full team in round one, but the same group of players will line up in the division five east grand final this weekend.

“Who would have thought that when Chelsea Caple from AFL Gippsland came to me with the idea of starting an open women’s team at the start of the year we would be playing off for a premiership just six months later,” Maidment said.

“It’s testament to such a professional, committed and talented group of players and everyone involved should be very proud.”

Maidment said there was some hesitation when the idea was first raised, but the recent growth of the Gippsland Youth Girls League gave the Gippsland League board confidence a women’s team could succeed.

“We weren’t sure how it would go in the first season, but we believed there would be plenty of girls coming through the youth girls’ competition in the next few years that would give us the numbers,” he said.

“It shows there are plenty of women out there interested in giving footy a go, they just needed an opportunity.”

Thirty players pulled on the red, white and blue jumper this season and with the GYGL now consisting of seven teams, there is talk of introducing a second Gippsland team next season.

However, Maidment said there was plenty more to be discussed before any decisions were made.

“There is a lot of momentum around women’s football at the moment, but we also don’t want to try to run before we can walk,” he said.

“We will seek advice from the VWFL as to whether expansion is the right move before we commit to anything.”