Deniliquin Rams Football & Netball Club is investigating the possibility of having a local youth girls Aussie Rules side in 2019.
The club will hold a meeting late this month seeking expressions of interest from girls aged 13-18 years about playing footy, as well as parents who might want to be involved.
Rams committee member and current thirds coach Chris Mitsch said the idea was raised at a recent club meeting.
‘‘We’re in the preliminary stages but we want to have a girls side as early as next year,’’ he said.
‘‘Two of my daughters are playing footy for Echuca and we felt we should see if we have enough support to start up our own team.
‘‘My girls absolutely love playing footy and women’s footy is only going to get stronger and stronger.
‘‘The AFLW is growing and I’d think that eventually there will be 18 teams in the AFLW competition.
‘‘We want to be able to give girls the opportunity to learn the skills of footy and give them a pathway to play at an elite level of sport if that’s what they desire.
‘‘There are about 35 to 40 spots available in a footy squad and you compare that to netball where there’s probably only around 12 on a squad to play at top level.’’
With surrounding clubs like Nathalia, Numurkah, Cobram and Finley already having youth girls teams, it could eventually open up an opportunity for the Murray League to run its own female competition, Mitsch said.
He also said that if there is enough interest, the Rams could consider an over 18s women’s side in the future.
‘‘I would love to see us upgrade our oval lights and have the girls come on after the seniors to play under lights,’’ he said.
‘‘Having a youth girls and women’s side would also open up the club to more people.
‘‘It could open us up for funding from the AFL and would be of huge benefit to the club and the local community.
‘‘If we can get at least 25 girls who want to play, then we’d definitely look at having our own youth girls team.
‘‘We’re not only looking for girls who have played footy before but also girls who are new to the sport and perhaps even trying it for the first time.’’
The expression of interest meeting will be held at the Deniliquin Rams clubrooms at 6pm on Monday, April 30.