Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Our View (13-2-2018): Tackling the issues with female footy

AT a time when female football is finally kicking some goals, some opinions remain well behind the times.

South Australian football legend Graham Cornes has suggested tackling should be banned from the AFLW competition. Cornes thought banning the tackle could create less congestion and therefore a better game to watch. But he also said the “wanton physicality of the AFLW is not a good look” and it’s better to treat women like superiors — princesses — than to afford them equal opportunity.

I’ve found the physicality of AFLW a highlight. It will take a few years for the skills to reach a high level, because that’s what happens when players have limited junior development. But they go in hard.

The next generation of girls will learn the skills of the game from a young age. This will lead to a superior product. It will take time, but you have to start somewhere.

The impact of the AFLW is already being felt on Yorke Peninsula, where a female football competition is being held for the first time. Plenty of girls are signing up and are obviously not deterred by the prospect of being tackled.

AFLW players are not the only ones young YP girls look up to. We also have five locals starring for West Adelaide in the SANFL Statewide Super Women’s League competition. On the weekend one of them, Nicole Hooper, snapped both bones in her lower leg during the Westies’ win against Norwood. It’s one of the worst injuries you could see on a footy field.

But girls who choose to play footy understand and accept the injury risk. Perhaps it’s time blokes stop telling girls what they should and shouldn’t do. I have known Hooper for a long time through basketball and she never shirks an issue on the sporting field. I highly doubt she’d want tackling banned from women’s footy. In fact, she has already posted to Facebook saying the win against Norwood had “made this worth it”. As for her broken leg? It didn’t happen in a tackle. It was a completely accidental collision. It was footy.

Nick Perry, Editor
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