St Kilda’s journey to AFLW has shifted gears as the countdown to 2020 officially begins.
Sunday's AFLW Grand Final signals the end of an elite women’s football competition without the mighty Saints.
St Kilda will be part of an expanded 14-team competition next season, joining AFLW alongside Richmond, Gold Coast and the West Coast Eagles.
Already three young players have signed on to be part of St Kilda’s historic first women’s team, with more names expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
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The most noticeable change at St Kilda at present is the on-going construction of the new women’s wing at the player’s entrance of RSEA Park.
The additional facilities will include a locker room, custome designed by our VFL women’s players and matching the men’s locker room for size and amenities.
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The locker room and administration space are part of the Stage 2 of the redevelopment of the Saints’ headquarters in Linton Street, Moorabbin, with construction of a 1000-seat grandstand and swimming centre set to begin in the coming months.
Searle said watching the new women’s wing take shape was an exciting reminder of the club’s journey to AFLW.
“Every day we are getting closer to AFLW, and walking past the construction adds to that sense of excitement,” Searle said.
Our VFL Women’s pre-season is in full swing now and the support from the men’s program in the terms of player and coach development has been great.”
Last week, backline development coach and former Tiger Jake Batchelor presented to the Southern Saints and took the defenders for training.
Southern Saints assistant coach Georgia Walker has also spent some time working with defensive line coach Henry Playfair to develop her coaching.
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“To have men’s coaches involved demonstrates the strength of our integration and is important in promoting that sense of belonging for the girls.
“I know the players really appreciate it, and I know Jake and Henry have really enjoyed their involvement.”
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The Southern Saints officially begin their VFL Women’s campaign on Sunday May 5 when they take on Collingwood as part of a double header at RSEA Park.
The match kicks off at 12.00pm as a curtain raiser to the Sandringham Zebras clash with Frankston at 2.10pm.