Women Want Footy

In 2014, Australian Rules football celebrated 25 years of a sporting competition in the country of England. In 2015, Women’s Australian Rules football officially took off with an AFL London Women’s league comprising of four already established men’s clubs each becoming host to a Women’s team. Those founding clubs being: Wimbledon Hawks, Wandsworth Demons, North London Lions and the South East London Giants.

In previous years, only exhibition games had been held for females on AFL London Grand Final day or training sessions for those interested. The development of a women’s league in London only confirms the continual development and interest in the game away from Australia. Even more so with the recent implementation of Women’s AFL matches being played since 2013 between the Western Bulldogs and the Melbourne Demons.

Lauren Sparks, a current player for the Wimbledon Hawks, had previous experience playing Aussie Rules football back in Melbourne – 3 years for Melbourne University, representative football for Victoria at the National Championships and Vic Metro. Lauren was also a member of the first two Women’s AFL sanctioned exhibition matches, playing for the Western Bulldogs against the Melbourne Demons. When asked about her knowledge of the league (men or women’s); “before coming over here I didn’t know much at all about the league…I found out they were introducing the first women’s league and that 4 teams would be involved”. As most antipodeans tend to do when moving abroad, a sporting club or organisation is a safe house as a social network. Lauren attributes the Wimbledon Hawks as an accessible way to meet new people, especially with the correlation between the men’s and women’s teams at the club.

Coming from a different Australian Rules football background, Jessie Hayes was part of the Junior Development Program at the Fremantle Dockers and had grown up around the sport. Having minimal knowledge of the Women’s AFL London league before arriving in London, Jessie knew that she would eventually be drawn to a club in one way or another. “Before I came over I had an inkling I would get involved in a club in some way”. She thanks peer pressure from her friend, a North London Lions player, to ‘[encourage] me to get on the other side of the boundary line for once”.

Both players strongly condone the sport as a great way to socialise with other people, and not only at their specific club, but over all the clubs. Many clubs hold joint social occasions to encourage camaraderie between each other – North London Lions and the West London Wildcats jointly host a Thames River Cruise as part of the Wildcat’s Ladies’ Day celebrations. Ladies’ Day is quickly becoming more and more important for the AFL London clubs’ to ascertain their stance as a genuine supporter of further developing and creating awareness of women’s involvement in Australian Rules football.

Without a doubt, the social aspect of the league is a part that everyone enjoys – “It is brilliant to have found such a great family like the Lions. London life wouldn’t be anywhere near as good without the club” Jessie states. As most expats in London can agree, playing Aussie Rules football assists in avoiding a dosage of the ‘Heathrow Injection’ (the sudden weight gain from lack of physical activity when arriving into London).

But where to next for the Women’s AFL London league? The current teams participating in the league are looking to grow their participation numbers and clubs that have yet to field a team would ideally be looking at staking their presences in the league.

“It’s definitely got room to grow, the amount of foreigners that are exposed to it, never seen it before, and then are hooked the minute they try the game, it intrigues people” says Lauren in regards to further expansion of the women’s league. Women’s team are both represented at the Axios Euro Cup as well as the International Cup (World Cup for Aussie Rules football), however there is always the desire to continually expand the participation level for both genders in Europe.

For more information regarding the Women’s AFL London league or any local competitions please head to the Women’s AFL London website.



James Gottschalk

Women’s Axios Euro Cup 2014

This year’s edition of the Women’s Axios Euro Cup was a breakthrough success. It was headlined by a hard-fought final game between the England Vixens and Ireland Banshees, who stayed undefeated throughout the tournaments five matches shutting out both the Denmark Valkyries and Les Gauloises early in their campaign.

The Vixens knew they were up for a fight as they had lost by 16 points earlier in the tournament. They managed to keep the final game to a one goal spread but under the leadership of Marie Keating’s three goals, The Banshees seized their fourth Euro Cup win.

But some of the tournament’s most important highlights were not made during match play, but rather before it all even started. 2014 had the highest participation for the Women’s tournament since its conception. Newcomers to the tournament included the Denmark Valkyries, Scotland Sirens and finalist Vixens. With 5 teams participating, each team saw action at least four times. Due to low participation, in the past the Women’s tournament was limited to only one game, usually including a Crusaders team (2012 and 2013), which was disbanded and expanded into the three new participating teams.

An Italian player, Federica Robbiano joined the Sirens team, in order to top off their numbers. The same situation arose with a few Swedish athletes who played for the Valkyries. Hopefully, Robbiano and the Swedes will help the growth and development of the sport in their countries and return to next years Euro cup with full teams of their own, as did those Ex –Crusaders.

PT2_6898  PT1_7351  

France Les Gauloises 0.2 (2) – England Vixens 7.8 (50)
England: Vanessa Temple 4, Michelle Healy, Rania Ramadan
France: Camille Portal , Coline Duquet, Stephanie Durand
England: Vanessa Temple, Rania Ramadan, Polly Moane

Ireland Banshees 4.7 (31) – Denmark Valkyries 0.0 (0)
Ireland: Rachel McGee 2, Carolann Cassidy 2, Paula Keatley
Denmark: Elizabeth Nielson, Maria Mose, Anne Sofie Friedberg
IrelandRachel McCann, Aimee Hazley, Paula Keatley

Scotland Sirens 7.1 (43) –  France Les Gauloises 1.0 (6)
France: Berengere Portal
Scotland: Erin Walter 3, Kristy Gray, Hazel Stevenson
France: Camille Portal, Chloe Raso, Berenger Portal
Scotland: Eve Shao, Helen Cameron, Carolyn Baker

England Vixens 1.1 (7) – Ireland Banshees 3.5 (23)
England: Rania Ramadan
Ireland: Marie Keating 2, Emma Kelly
England: Lisa Mchugh, Vanessa Temple, Rania Ramadan
Ireland: Marie Keating, Emma Kelly, Paula Keatley

Denmark Valkyries 0.0 (0) – Scotland Sirens 4.5 (29)
Scotland:Erin Walter 3, Federica Robbiano
Scotland: Erin Walter, Hazel Stevenson, Carolyn Cameron
Denmark: Elizabeth Nielson, Maria Mose , Josefin Larson

France Les Gauloises 0.0 (0) – Ireland Banshees 9.11 (65)
Ireland: Aimee Hazley 4, Marie Keating 2, Emma Kelly 2, Carolann Cassidy 2, Rachel McGee
France: Charlene Charmale, Camille Portal, Anne Pille
Ireland: Marie Keating, Emma Kelly, Paula Keatley

England Vixens 11.7 (73) – Denmark Valkyries 0.0 (0)
England: Laura Turner 5, Rania Ramadan 2, Vanessa Temple 2, Polly Moane
England: N/A
DenmarkAnne Sophie Friedberg, Katharina Wittenberg, Stine Magnussen 

Ireland Banshees 3.5 (23) – Scotland Sirens 1.3 (9)
Ireland: Emma Kelly, Paula Keatley, Aimee Hazley
Scotland: Eve Shao
Ireland: Emma Kelly, Marie Keating, Fiona Roarty
Scotland: Helen Cameron, Kristy Gray, Eileen Myles

France Les Gauloises 1.0 (6) – Denmark Valkyries 1.2 (8)
France: Berengere Portal
Denmark: N/A
France: Charlene Charnal, Berengere Portal, Camille Portal
Denmark: Anne Sophie Friedberg, Kathie Aepkers, Mettle Haurum

England Vixens 4.4 (28) – Scotland Sirens 0.2 (2)
England: Rania Ramadan  4
England: Rania Ramadan, Chalotte Ellen Eales, Vanessa Temple
Scotland: N/A

Grand Final

England Vixens 4.2 (26) – Ireland Banshees 5.1 (31)
Ireland: Marie Keating 3, Rachel McGee 2
England: N/A
Ireland: Marie Keating, Rachel McGee, Aimee Hazley
England: N/A


AEC Women's Scores

Toulouse Hawks undefeated French Champions!

By Alban Schieber

The 2014 French Championship ended on June 14th with a wonderful Grand Final held in Toulouse at the Australian Summer Party organised by the Toulouse Hawks.

Before even knowing if they would play in the Grand Final, it was already determined that the Hawks would be the hosts. After a few weeks of brainstorming, they decided to play another card to attract people to the event.

The Australian Summer Party, DJ, BBQ, drinks, games, goodies and of course footy were on the program. “The idea was to have more than traditional fans for the game! And also more ladies!” said Emilien Martinez (Toulouse Hawks President).

After turning on the music and the beer tap, the afternoon started with a women’s footy game where the ladies of France came to play together in two sides called the Toulouse Hawks and the Toulouse Cockerelles (most of the girls coming from Toulouse and Paris). A great achievement to hold the first official 7-a-side French women’s game.

Most of the early crowd was really surprised to see the level of this game as the girls were putting so much intensity and passion in the game. “Handpasses, kicks, shepherds, goals, high marks, their skills set improved a lot since the Axios Euro Cup held in Bordeaux” said Pascal Ivorra the French Women’s Coach.

This was a great first step for women’s footy development. This game also helped him to see all the ladies before the 2014 Axios Euro Cup which will take place in London in October.

During the ladies curtain raiser game, the temperature kept on rising in the grandstand when the two men’s teams entered the change rooms to begin their pre game preparations.

The Hawks were the first ones to come out in front of a 500-600 people crowd followed by the Paris Cockerels for a remake of last year’s title.

Pat Douglas from Andorra came to umpire the game and was delighted to be part of the event.

The Cockerels were the first ones to put their hands on the ball scoring three behinds in a row within the two first minutes. Unfortunately, they were unable to score goals to make a small break. After a good play of handpasses, the Toulouse Hawks scored the first goal of the game after 5 minutes! Quickly followed by a second and third one. At quarter time the Hawks held the lead at 38 to 12.

In the second quarter  the Paris Cockerels seemed to have found their sight for the footy but not the precision. The Hawks on the other hand remained accurate and kept increasing their margin. At half time Toulouse lead 62-23.

The third quarter demonstrated the ability of Toulouse to play as a team while Paris got caught out kicking long bombs and hoping for individuals performance. 101-36.

In the last quarter Toulouse managed to capitalise on the situation and control the game. However the Cockerels began a late surge scoring consecutive goals but it was too late. The Hawks came away as champions on the day with the final score of 104-62.


French Ladies


Paris Cockerels vs Toulouse Hawks