I’m looking forward to Saturday 3 September, 2016. It’s going to be a three thermos day. For me, that means I’ll be on the road (well, tram and train) all day and will need to fill my thermos at least three times. Sure, I’m spoiled for choice when it comes to coffee in Melbourne, but I will be spending a serious amount of time at Whitten Oval watching the Melbourne v Western Bulldogs Women’s All Stars game (and the Youth Girls curtain raiser) and I won’t be giving up my seat to queue for caffeine at any point.
The 2016 AFL Home & Away season is over* and there is a ‘bye’ before the finals kick off next weekend. While there are countless footy teams competing across the country, the All Stars game is the highlight of the first weekend in September for footy lovers like me. So, instead of listening to the usual Friday Night Footy tonight, I’m catching up with the latest podcasts from This AFL Life, Trailblazers and Girls Play Footy and I’m thinking about how much has happened in the last few months and how much I’ve enjoyed this fantastic footy season.
Chicks Talkin’ Footy. Yep, I’m one of those women.
In 2016, JOY 94.9 gave the go-ahead to a thirty minute weekly program pitched by our skipper, Fiona Newton. In April we got to know each other a little … mostly on the air! I discovered the six Chicks included two Hawks, a Bomber, a Tiger and a Crow. Heave Oh. We focussed on the highlights of the AFL round, Women in Football and what we considered to be Out of Bounds. That was before Michael Barlow created his own podcast of the same name. Sorry Mick, I still haven’t got around to listening to OOB but you’re on the list! Please don’t leave the Dockers.
In May, we enjoyed the Purple Bombers event to recognise the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia aka IDAHOBIT. We’ve since talked with other LGBTQIAFL supporter groups; the Rainbow Swans, Blue Roos and yes, Dorothy, we’ll get to the Ruby Demons soon! We interviewed Saints Assistant Coach Adam Skrobalak and were delighted by his offer to organise our team T-shirts. Thanks Adam!
As a spectator I squeezed in a couple of games during the Youth Girls National Championships and found a new favourite player in Courtney Hodder. I’m super excited about watching her play in this weekend’s curtain-raiser.
On CTF we chatted with amazing athlete and Melbourne Footballer, Cecilia McIntosh and ignored Fremantle’s season completely. We enjoyed the Melbourne and Brisbane Women’s Exhibition game and often talked about the GWS Giants’ hair.
In June, the National Women’s League was announced. How bloody exciting! The foundation clubs are Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, Greater Western Sydney, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs. The inaugural season kicks off in February 2017 and it seems the momentum grows with every week. It also seems appropriate that today I came home to find this book in my letter box: Play On! The Hidden History of Women’s Australian Rules Football. It’s only taken 100 years to get to this …
On the same day the NWL was launched, Nicole Hayes from the Outer Sanctum was our CTF guest. Nicole’s visit was just a few weeks after the launch of the fabulous collection of stories From the Outer: Footy Like You’ve never Heard it and what seems like, in retrospect, just a few hours before the OS crew took on the world. I find it particularly challenging to distill the events of that week and to clearly articulate how much I admire the women of the Outer Sanctum. Suffice to say, CFC President Eddie McGuire’s comments during the MND Freeze were beyond the pale and OS called him on it. Nicole Hayes explains the ‘viral media storm’ (and so much more) here.
The following week we chatted with the trailblazer former player and coach Peta Searle and as June wore on, the Dockers
hit a purple patch won three games in a row. Michael Barlow, again, please don’t leave the Dockers.
In July, CTF had a ball while some may have struggled through winter and mid-season slumps. We listened to Caroline Wilson deliver the David Parkin Oration. We joined the audience for another brilliant episode of Marngrook.
We prepared for another AFL first … the Pride Game between St Kilda and Sydney Swans. To say we were excited is an understatement.
The AFL’s mantra was “everyone is welcome at the footy” and the Saints & Swans showed their support for LGBTIQAFL supporters, players and communities. During JOY 94.9’s live four hour outside broadcast, five of the six Chicks were joined by guest co-hosts Alicia Sometimes (Outer Sanctum) and Shelley Ware (Marngrook) to interview 32 guests; players, politicians, supporters, performers, journalists and activists. We had such a good time. There are 19 other podcasts where this came from and thanks to Betty Sujecki and Hamish Blunck we have a few pics too.
I’m still surprised I didn’t pull a hamstring that weekend. Before the Pride Game, the Outer Sanctum crew hosted a Kick & Coffee session with the Melbourne Uni Women’s Football Club & North Melbourne FC . What a hoot!
August flew by, and Fremantle won just one more game to send off the magnificent Matthew Pavlich. The Chicks continue to talk footy wherever and whenever they can. I had the great pleasure of interviewing Dr Susan Alberti ahead of the Women in Football Charity Breakfast.
It’s been a massive week; Australian Story featured Alberti and Mo Hope in a beautiful reflection on women in football, CTF chatted with out and proud singer/songwriter & Adelaide Crows Ambassador Beccy Cole and Marngrook had a brilliant panel of women to talk about football last night and its people. Most of the 500 or so people at Dr Alberti’s breakfast this morning would agree we’ve come along way in 100 years … but we’ve still got some distance to travel. While the ever vigilant Erin Riley clearly explains the challenges of equity issues in the newly formed AFL National Women’s League, I’m going to take some more time before I add my two cents about where we are now … it’s the first weekend in September and the All Stars game is the centre of my footy universe. I’m going to put the kettle on now, tomorrow is a three thermos day.
* just quietly, this Docker is relieved. Does anyone remember the NAB Challenge team?