I rise today to move the motion standing in my name. That this Chamber –
a) Congratulates the Adelaide Crows on winning the 2019 AFLW Grand Final;
b) Congratulates Erin Philips on winning the AFLW Grand Final best on ground medal;
c) Acknowledges the important role the AFLW competition has had in growing grassroots participation in women’s football and providing role models for the next generation of AFLW players; and
d) Recognises that the crowd of over 53,000 is the biggest ever attendance at a Women’s sporting game in Australian history and the fifth largest crowd at an AFL game at the Adelaide Oval.
I speak to this motion as a proud South Australian and a proud Crows supporter. This year the Crows side started their 2019 campaign with a different direction with a new coach, former Crow’s player Matthew Clarke. It was a new era for the team, which had won the inaugural season, but was not able to repeat their efforts the year after. Season 2019 was the bounce back to form that the players and supporters had hoped and worked hard for. It was pleasing to watch a Crows team realise their hard work and win their second premiership in only the third year of the competition. The game itself was a fantastic spectacle. The record AFLW crowd witnessed a display of skill, endeavour and flare in a heated contest between Crows and Carlton. Thankfully, it was the South Australian team which triumphed.
The crowd deserves recognition of its own. It was a spectacular sight to see 53,000 people pack into the Adelaide Oval and cheer on the Crows as they claimed their second premiership. The attendance was not only the single largest for an AFLW match, but the fifth largest ever for an AFL game at the Adelaide Oval. A crowd this size shows that the state is right behind both the Crows women and future growth in the game.
I would also like to take this opportunity to highlight the role in this victory by two players who unfortunately suffered knee injuries, Chloe Scheer and Erin Philips. Chole played a big role in the win, wowing the crowd with a highflying mark. The victory would not have been possible without our talented and passionate co-captain, Erin Phillips. Her Best on Ground performance was crucial to the win and it has been seen consistently throughout the season. Despite her injury, Erin attended the ‘W Awards’ last night and won her second league Best and Fairest. An admirable achievement in the short existence of the competition.
To allow the Crows and football fans in this state to build on the results over the weekend, we must foster the growth at a grassroots level. Women’s football has become one of the fastest growing sports in this state. Within our local clubs, we now have over 100 registered female teams. A fantastic achievement and sign of popularity for the game, given that there were only a handful of teams a couple years ago. A take up as widespread as this requires the right infrastructure in place, in order to retain these budding young AFLW hopefuls.
The Marshall Liberal Government is committed to providing improved infrastructure to South Australian sporting clubs, to enable the further growth of women’s sport. That is why we outlined a new Government grant program last year, which focuses on the development of female and family friendly shared use sport facilities for football, cricket and netball. This grant aims to ensure the development of sustainable, inclusive, functional and fit for purpose active recreation and sport facilities that will meet the current and future needs of the South Australian community.
Funding for grassroots women’s football from the Marshall Liberal Government, does not end with the facilities grant. Announced in December last year, we committed $275,000 towards sponsorship of the AFLW Crows team. From these funds we have enabled the Adelaide Football Club to develop programs and pathways for young women to access the sport across South Australia.
I am also pleased to see that funding for the new Crows training facility, from the Federal Budget handed down overnight, will include a high-performance facility for the AFLW Premiers and a talent identification academy for female athletes. It is my hope that these facilities enable our girls to remain ahead of the pack for years to come.
Once again I would like to say congratulations to the Crows women, coach Matthew Clarke, assistants’ coaches Peter Caven, Andrew McLeod, Tim Weatherald, Narelle Smith and the whole Club. Never forget, footballers win kicks, teams win games, clubs win premierships Here’s to a repeat next season. I commend this motion to the Chamber.