In November last year fourteen female would be footballers gathered on the Mills Oval at CGS to embark on a journey to see CGFC represented in the VAFA’s new women’s competition. No one could possibly have imagined that nine months later this team could have achieved so much.
From these uncertain beginnings, momentum quickly built and by March the team was ready to start playing footy albeit we had no idea of how we would go. The goal at that time was simply to field a team and for the players to have fun learning to play the game.
The VAFA arranged a Lightning Premiership to give the 40 teams that had entered the competition a chance to finally play footy. The first game against South Melbourne was the first game of women’s footy on the hallowed VAFA HQ ground. We won that and our subsequent games against Haileybury and Collegians. Then three grading rounds followed in which we defeated Haileybury, De La Salle and Monash. The players quickly learned the club song and they sang and danced to it with gusto.
At the conclusion of the grading rounds VAFA placed us in the Premier Division along with 3 other new women’s teams and 4 teams which had been playing footy for some time. Initially we were worried about not being ready to play in Premier Division but the first game against Melbourne Uni, one of the established sides, put rest to these concerns. We won that game and were competitive in every one of the 11 games played in the season.
CGFCW beat Xavs, Brunswick (twice) and Trinity and lost to Marcellin (2), Fitzroy (2) and SKOBS (2). We had a couple of chances of making the final four but in the end we were just not quite good enough.
On field there were many highlights including that first win in Premier against Melbourne Uni and the epic victory over Trinity. The team became renowned for its competitiveness, it’s never give in attitude and good sportsmanship. CGFCW was enthusiastic in victory but generous to the opposition in defeat.
The Leadership Group comprising Amy Dumas (Captain), Julia Cowell (vice captain) and deputy vice-captains Irena Malliaris, Belle Connor and Emily Sandler did a superlative job. For a nineteen year old year Amy showed maturity beyond her years, always leading from the front and being recognized by VAFA during the year as one of the Rising Stars of the competition.
CGFCW is very proud of Irena Malliaris, Grace Buchan and Millie Klingbeil who were selected to represent VAFA in a match against AFL Goldfields. VAFA won this game and Irena was named best on ground.
The Pink Sports Day on June 24th which saw the team kitted out in pink jumpers was a great success with a record 120 people attending a memorable Women In Sport Lunch organized by Janee McEvoy and featuring guest panelists Penny Cula Reid, Ali Brown and Lizzy Motteram. The Club raised over $7,500 for Breast Cancer Network Australia from this initiative.
Over the season 57 women donned the Fields jumper. 3 curtain raiser games were arranged to ensure every player received as much game time as possible. The vast majority of players attended CGS but special mention must be made of the players who found their way to CGFCW by other means. They were welcomed and they contributed exceptionally well.
The VAFA itself was very supportive and credit for the success of the competition goes to the hard working Women’s Football Development Officer, Shona McInness.
The team uniforms were generously sponsored by Ruth Roberts from Woodards Real Estate and Emma Dumas from The Muesli. Product sponsors included Matt Walker from Grill’d Carnegie & Elsternwick, Lynne Galucci from Priceline, John Iozzi from Palace Cinemas and Sjaan Lawson from L’Oreal. Throughout the year several local businesses provided additional support largely arising from the efforts of Elizabeth Stoios. Photographers Graeme Diggle and Rob Jordan recorded many lifetime memories and Mascots Eve Lyon and Bronte Fisher made everyone enjoy the footy experience even more.
CGFCW enjoyed tremendous support from the Club starting with Peter Small and his Committee. Sadly one of our Patrons, Liz Wilson, passed away before the season commenced but Liz’s memory will live on though the Liz Wilson Medal which will be awarded each year to the Best & Fairest player. The support from the Club’s other Patron, Stephen Newton was ever present and greatly appreciated. Stephen oversaw CGS becoming co-ed and he has been a major supporter of women’s involvement with CGFC.
Simon Williams has taken a close interest with the team and our players really benefited from senior players teams coming down each week to help out at training. Scott Williams umpired our home games and also prepared hot soup at a number of our mid-winter training sessions. The team received great support from the medical staff including Rachael, Stuti and Tram. The way the whole club, including its supporters, has embraced the women’s team has been fantastic.
Robert Grigg has been tireless as the Team Manager. It is an onerous task especially managing selection availability but Griggy executed it brilliantly and always with good humour. Many of the parents willingly chipped in especially on match days which made his task easier.
Our Senior Coach Guy Nelson is a unique character. Knowledgeable, passionate, competitive, Guy has a heart of gold and he developed a strong affinity with the players. It’s not an easy task given the differences in skill level, strength and fitness and footballing aspirations but Guy managed this challenging position with a positive and focused attitude.
Club legend Matt Scholten was the team’s energetic runner as well as being a major sponsor of our pink jumpers and Assistant Coach Travis Mudra provided excellent support to Guy and the players.
Over the course of the next few weeks a full review of the year will be conducted involving players, parents, coaches, sponsors and club officials and we look forward to receiving feedback. We are determined to build on this strong base and look forward to an even bigger and better season in 2018.
Finally, the biggest “Thank You” goes to the 57 women who have now made CGFC complete.