POSTER GIRL: Tayla Harris breaks free of a tackle during the women's AFL exhibition match between Melbourne and Queensland at Melbourne Cricket Ground in May.
POSTER GIRL: Tayla Harris breaks free of a tackle during the women's AFL exhibition match between Melbourne and Queensland at Melbourne Cricket Ground in May. Quinn Rooney

Lions keen to make their mark in new women’s competition

AUSSIE RULES: The Brisbane Lions may be struggling on the AFL stage, but confidence is high their side will make an immediate impact in the new National Women’s League in 2017.

The Lions were yesterday announced as one of the eight teams making up the fledgling competition, alongside Collingwood, Carlton, Melbourne and the Bulldogs from Victoria, Adelaide, Fremantle and GWS.

The side will be coached by former Collingwood player Craig Starcevich, who has been overseeing the development of the women’s game in the state, and include Tayla Harris, who has become its poster girl.

“There are so many girls who have worked so hard to get this opportunity, it will be good to be able to showcase our skills and reward the effort that we’ve put in,” Harris said.

While it was a formality the Lions would be included, with Gold Coast deciding not to bid for an inaugural licence, their inclusion was no less meritorious.

“There is so much talent across Queensland, we are really excited to get to work on developing a team that will do us proud in this great new national competition,” Lions chief executive Greg Swann said.

GWS was also accepted after Sydney chose not to bid, while Adelaide made a joint submission with AFLNT, meaning Northern Territory players will have a pathway to the Crows.

Missing out, Geelong, Richmond, West Coast, St Kilda and North Melbourne were granted provisional licences to compete in later seasons.

AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick described the league’s formation as a “truly a defining moment in the history of Australian football”.

“The number of women and girls playing club football has doubled over the past five years, as record growth year-on-year has seen female participation reach 25 per cent of the total number of Australians playing our indigenous game,” he said.

“In 2015 there were 163 new women’s teams and more than 318,000 total female participants. This year we are forecasting 250 new teams will take the field.”


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