Girls footy again opens Mortlock weekend

FOOTY: Amelia Rusden (right) was one of the standout players during the women's exhibition match at Centenary Oval on Mortlock Saturday. Photo: Jack Davies
FOOTY: Amelia Rusden (right) was one of the standout players during the women's exhibition match at Centenary Oval on Mortlock Saturday. Photo: Jack Davies

Women's football returned to once again open the Mortlock Shield weekend as Norwood Football Club continues its commitment to develop women's football on Eyre Peninsula.

At the last Mortlock Shield carnival in 2019 women's football featured for the first time with 24 footballers from across Eyre Peninsula taking part in a 12-a-side match.

With the return of the carnival in 2021 the women's match also returned even bigger with 32 footballers playing a 16-a-side match over four 12 minute quarters, guided by coaches Michael Paech and Brett Howell.

The Reds started strongly with 3.5 to the Blues 0.0 in the first quarter but skills and momentum from both sides picked up as the game went on, by the final siren the Reds would win 5.9 (39) to 1.2 (8).

Shenae Miller was one of the standout players during the match, kicking two goals, and was also was involved in putting the match together.

She said it was great to see women's football once again feature during the Mortlock weekend.

"It's been a long time in the making, it's so good to get out on the oval and for the girls to have an opportunity to have a run," she said.

"It wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for Brett Howell, Michael Paech and the Redlegs."

Standouts also included Amelia Rusden who showcased great skills on the field, with Timeisha Simpson kicking two goals.

Also taking part in the match were Alex Mason and Kendall Howell, who play in the SANFL Women's League with West Adelaide and North Adelaide respectively.

FOOTBALLERS: The female footballers who played in the exhibition match on the morning of Mortlock Shield Saturday. Photo: Jarrad Delaney

FOOTBALLERS: The female footballers who played in the exhibition match on the morning of Mortlock Shield Saturday. Photo: Jarrad Delaney

Mr Howell, who will also coach the Western Zone women's team for the SA Country Championships said having their involvement showed the level many of the female footballers who played can reach.

For Norwood, it was about helping develop women's football in the region and helping more female footballers get onto the football pathway.

The region has already seen some footballers progress to the next level with Bella Smith playing for Norwood and getting drafted to Collingwood in the AFLW.

Norwood people, culture and pathways manager Rick Shrowdwer said Sachi Syme looked to be on her way to a possible AFLW career after finding a position in the senior team.

He said the club was happy to see the match again take place during such an important event and the club wanted to ramp up support to further promote women's football in the region.

"We know there's very talented footballers over here and we want to get them into our program," he said.

"The pathway to get to AFLW can be a lot faster for young girls these days, the Norwood pathway goes to the state pathways and then you can get noticed by AFLW."

Mr Howell said hopefully the footballers would continue to train, with two compulsory training sessions coming up at Lock to select the team that would represent Eyre Peninsula at the Country Championships at Victor Harbor in July.

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