As St Mark’s College Year 6 students Alexa Manners and Georgia Munro played with their red Sherrin footballs on Monday afternoon, their passion for the game shone through with every kick and mark.
For Georgia, her journey to football was an inquisitive move inspired by a visit from some Adelaide Crows players for a recent clinic.
“I just wanted to try something different,” Georgia said.
But for Alexa, her passion for the game was spread over both skillful and social opportunities.
“I like getting to play against other people and meeting other people in different team,” Alexa said.
“I also like to chase people with the ball and then tackle them.”
2017 has seen a total of eight girls represent the college at the under 9 and 11 team levels – a significant increase on last year, when only one girl played football at the school.
St Mark’s College sports coordinator Tom Arbon believed the popularity of the national AFL Women’s across the country was beginning to have an impact on interest at a local junior level.
”A lot of girls at recess and lunchtimes are kicking the football around,” Tom said.
“There is probably a lot of talk in the classrooms about football now, especially after the Adelaide Crows women’s side won the premiership.
“… The bigger the AFLW gets the bigger it will get at the junior level”.
He said that the mixed junior teams had off-field benefits for the students.
“Now they have obviously got common ground to have discussions about,” he said.
“They can chat about their game on the weekend, or who they’re playing this week, or what’s going on at training.
“They’ve got that connection outside of the classroom that they can bond over.”
He said Alexa Manners’ third best performance on Sunday against Port Football Club was a standout moment in the season so far, but was proud of each of the girls for getting involved in football at the school. “It is great to have them involved, they are really into it,” he said.