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AFL players looking ahead to national women’s competition

With the second and final women’s exhibition match of 2015 played on Sunday – a game that saw Melbourne defeat the Western Bulldogs by four points at Etihad Stadium – the major talking point in regards to women’s footy centres on what happens next.

With The Age reporting on Sunday that “six AFL clubs could field women’s teams by 2017, as part of the AFL’s major push to boost elite women’s football”, it seems the female game is destined to expand dramatically in coming years. The push for a national elite women’s football competition has been gaining moment for some time, with a number of AFL players voicing their support for the concept.

In 2014, then Melbourne co-captain Jack Grimes told of his hope for women’s footy to grow in years ahead.

“It makes us feel very lucky [in regards to] the privileges that we get in men’s footy, so [I’m] hoping the women can get the same opportunities moving forward,” Grimes said.

Last week, young Western Bulldogs star Marcus Bontempelli shared the same message on Fox Footy’s AFL 360.

“It’s great to see that the Bulldogs and Melbourne are leading the way with women’s footy, and it’s great for us to see, hopefully, that the next step’s taken pretty soon,” Bontempelli said.

As an ambassador for the social leadership campaign The Line, which aims to tackle the issue of violence against women, the 19-year-old Bulldog is passionate about the cause.

“I think that’s where [female football] is going and that’s evident in the way youth football is going around the country.

“That’s the message that we’re trying to push at The Line, about equal opportunity and how women deserve the same opportunities. As ambassadors, in a football sense, that’s the next step that we hope the AFL can take.”

You can watch the full segment in which Bontempelli discusses women’s footy, alongside Western Bulldogs Brianna Davey and Katie Brennan, below.

Click here to find out more about Bontempelli’s involvement with The Line.