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Bayside's new footy heroes

SAINTS.com.au  June 22, 2017 3:48 PM

Bayside's new footy heroes Representing the new face of football in Bayside, Beaumaris co-captains Pip Atkins and Katrina Bateman talk about the future prospect of a Saints AFLW team.

St Kilda Football Club CEO Matt Finnis has labelled a Saints AFLW team as the essential component in securing the long-term future of women’s football in Victoria.

St Kilda’s most recent submission to the AFL Commission to be part of the AFL Women’s Competition in 2019 reiterated the importance of the club to an expanded league and the women’s game more broadly.

“We understand that we represent Saints fans around Australia but closer to home we represent the enormous Bayside region,” Finnis said. 

“With a population of 800,000 people, including 65,000 girls aged 5-19, Bayside is extremely important to the future of female football nationally.

“The creation of a St Kilda AFLW team has potential to open the floodgates in terms of participation in a region that is already a really strong when it comes to women’s football. 

“Approximately 20 per cent of girls and women playing football in Victoria currently reside in St Kilda heartland (from Port Melbourne to Portsea) but it is also a stronghold for soccer. 

“A St Kilda AFLW team will complete an aspirational pathway in the region that can ignite unprecedent growth, underpinning the strength of women’s football in Victoria and helping entrench AFLW into the Australian sporting landscape.” 

 

The new face of football Bayside

Beaumaris co-captains Pip Atkins and Katrina Bateman represent the new face of football in Bayside. 

Both are in their first year of senior football after returning to the sport they loved as kids and acknowledge the importance of a St Kilda Women’s team to the future of the sport in the region.

“My football story is really similar to a lot of girls,” Atkins said.

“I started playing very young with the boys (at Beaumaris) but didn’t see much of a future in it.

“When I found out that Beaumaris was fielding a women’s team I decided to have a crack. It’s that same sense of community that I felt a decade ago." 

“I’ve always dreamt of playing AFL and now that it’s a reality I’d definitely love to play, and play for Bayside club.

“It (a St Kilda AFLW team) encompasses that sense of community you always felt from the local level all the way up.

“There are so many girls throughout Bayside playing footy. You look around today and there are almost as many girls as boys and they would all love to play for a Bayside (AFLW) club.”

Bateman, who was part of the Australian Olympic Rowing Team in Rio last year, said seeing the Saints AFLW run out at Moorabbin would be a special moment for fans.

“For me, elite women’s sport is something I’ve always been passionate about. AFLW is irresistible at the moment and you can’t fight the momentum behind it,” Bateman said. 

“The thought of a St Kilda team, a local Bayside team, something for these girls, and for girls like us, to dream of is exciting to be part of.

“Playing AFLW at Moorabbin would run close to representing Australia in the green and gold.

“A St Kilda AFLW teams takes the community nationally and showcases what Bayside has got to give to football.”

 

Entire club commitment

At an AusKick clinic earlier this week, emerging leader Jack Newnes said the entire club was behind the creation of an AFLW team.

“It would mean everything to the club. As you can see out the Auskick today there is just so many girls so it would be great for them to have some role models.”

Spud Frawley’s daughters are playing at Haileybury and I think he’s coaching down there. Around Bayside there is a lot of girls sides and it would be massive for the area to have a (AFLW) team.

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