Hawks committed to developing women's football

HAWTHORN Football Club is firmly committed to the development of women's football and has endorsed a carefully planned and comprehensive approach to women’s football in 2016 and beyond.

The club will invest pro-actively in a long-term, sustainable commitment to women’s football that focuses on three key pillars; participation, talent pathways and coaching.

“We want to ensure that our commitment to women’s football is a long-term one,” CEO Stuart Fox told hawthornfc.com.au.

“Our focus is on encouraging females to participate in the game at a grassroots level and help develop clear talent pathways,” he said.

While the club has made a considered decision to not lodge an application for a women’s team in 2017, Fox said the club was excited by the development of the national women’s competition.

“The commitment the AFL has made to women’s football, in particular the development of an elite female competition, is fantastic for our game,” Fox said.

“The prospect of a Hawthorn women’s team in the future is an exciting one. However, at this time we believe that our most sustainable contribution will be made by investing in women’s football at a grassroots level.

“We have some core programs and relationships in place that we can leverage to deliver ongoing investment into women’s football.

“An important part of this investment is working with the Eastern Football League (EFL) to support its newly combined Eastern Region Girls competition.

“We will provide a dedicated program of support ranging from coaching and development opportunities, to the use of our facilities and financial support,” he said.

The Eastern Region Girls competition launched through the amalgamation of the EFL and teams in the Yarra Ranges. The league has grown to 35 teams across three competitions.

Hawthorn will also look to take its investment in women’s football to Tasmania and Northern Territory.

“We are working directly with the Prospect Hawks in Launceston to develop their first youth girls team that will compete in the Northern Tasmanian Junior Football competition,” Fox said.

“Similarly, we have joined forces with the Big River Hawks in Katherine to help them with their push to field a women’s football side for the 2016/17 season.

“Hawthorn Football Club’s roots are firmly entrenched in both Tasmania and Katherine, and our existing connections and programs allow us to have an immediate impact on women playing football at a grassroots level,” said Fox.

AFL General Manager – Game and Market Development Simon Lethlean, said Hawthorn’s holistic approach had the full support of the league.

“We are supportive of Hawthorn’s decision to focus their efforts into women’s football at a grassroots level,” Lethlean said.

“The initiatives they are developing in conjunction with the EFL, Prospect Hawks and Big River Hawks are genuine, long-term commitments which support the AFL’s broader strategy around women’s football.”

Author: Clare Pettyfor

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