I rise to speak to the motion of the Hon. Mr Ngo. I do congratulate the AFL on this achievement. The league has been a great success and the AFL were extremely clever to schedule it just prior to the men's season, ensuring maximum attention from the media and spectators alike. This has been at the forefront of the women's format. It will survive as a viable competition, and to ensure that it does, it will not compete directly with the men's game, at least in its formative years.
A great initiative has been to ensure that all Adelaide Crows games had free admission during the season. This guaranteed that fan curiosity could be satisfied, and it gave fans a chance to witness what women's football is all about. I am sure it gained a number of new supporters as a result.
Whilst parts of this motion are now outdated, we all wished the ladies the best of luck for the season and now we congratulate them on a very successful season. Players, coaches and administrators are always quick to point out that no comparisons can and should be made between the women's and men's games, and this is true. The women's game needs to be celebrated in its uniqueness and as a stand-alone. Any comparisons to the men's game are unhelpful.
The AFLW is different. We have seen certain innovations, such as the removal of the wings as positions on the field, meaning that only 16 players are on the field from each side. This quickens up the game and reduces congestion. There are many other nuances which I will not go into here, but I am sure there will be many more in the future. Just as there are many differences between women and men, so there should be in their respective codes of Australian Rules football.
The one area of criticism, if I can call it that, that I will touch on is the lack of grassroots options for girls. Unfortunately, by establishing the elite version of the sport without first establishing a pathway of competition for girls, it will be difficult for the AFL to capitalise on the immediate popularity of the sport among young girls. I would like to see resources funnelled into the establishment of grassroots community programs and competitions by the AFL, the SANFL, the Adelaide Footy League and other relevant stakeholders. In fact, this is something that the Minister for Recreation and Sport may want to pay some attention to, rather than rhetorical flourishes on symbolism, such as the renaming of the stands at Adelaide Oval.
Finally, I want to make a comment on my team, the Adelaide Crows. The Crows ladies began the season as favourites for the wooden spoon but ended up premiers and champions. It was an amazing effort by a team that was written off by pundits before a game had even been played. A lot of credit needs to go to coach Bec Goddard and co-captain Erin Phillips, who can now add AFLW premiership captain to her long list of sporting accolades.
Ms Phillips has had a truly amazing year, dominating the individual awards. In addition to being premiership captain, she was also best on ground in the grand final, AFLWPA most valuable player and competition best and fairest (currently known as the W award). She kicked goal of the year, which was a 60-metre bomb against Carlton at the Thebarton Oval, and is All-Australian vice‑captain and half-forward. Ms Phillips is expected to be voted as the club's best and fairest as well.
The Crows, domination does not end there, with fellow co-captain Chelsea Randall voted most courageous player by her peers, as well as All-Australian halfback. Ebony Marinoff was the AFLW rising star for best player under the age of 22. Other honours included Courtney Cramey as All-Australian fullback and Sarah Perkins as All-Australian full-forward.
The remaining premiership players were Heather Anderson, Georgia Bevan, Talia Radan, Anne Hatchard, Denni Varnhagen, Angela Foley who was vice-captain, Dayna Cox, Stevie-Lee Thompson, Kellie Gibson, Sarah Allan, Justine Mules, Sally Riley, Rachael Killian, Abbey Holmes, Rhiannon Metcalfe, Jenna McCormick and Jessica Sedunary. I congratulate every single one of them on their groundbreaking achievement, as well as all the support staff and management on a successful maiden season. I commend the motion to the council.