Embracing the lace

A future Women’s AFL champion? Ava Eaton got into the thick of the action with her up-cycled boots at the Roos’ Auskick day.

SOMETIMES the only thing between a girl and a grand final dream is a good pair of boots, and the Mount Lawley/Inglewood Roos junior footy club is trying to bridge that gap with an exchange program.

With kids often growing out of their boots before they’re really scuffed, the club started the el-cheapo exchange; giving the oldies a clean, a four-week quarantine, and a new pair of laces.

It’s usually a fiver to swap boots or $10 to buy a pair, but at the club’s July 26 Auskick open day, exchange boss Wade Lapelms noticed many girls sitting on the sidelines watching their brothers play and started handing boots out for free. 

Club president Lisa Quartermain (the first female president) says they’re hoping to build up enough numbers through the Auskick 5-8 year-olds program for their first girls team in the next season or two.

Forge

“The club’s 47 years old and we’ve never had a girls-only team, so we’re keen to do everything we can to forge a path ahead for them,” Ms Quartermain says.

They have a few girls playing on younger boys’ teams, but Ms Quartermain says they tend to drop out around year 8 when the lads bulk up.

Ms Quartermain says girls want to get involved because they too have “just a natural instinct that they’ve got the ability to play the game. They love the game and they follow the game. 

“When I was at school I would have loved the opportunity to play footy, but we never got it, it wasn’t a consideration.”

There’s another Have-A-Go-Day on August 2, and the Auskick session for 5-8 year-olds happens every Sunday from 8.30am at Inglewood oval. 

Mt Lawley Labor MP Simon Millman has been touring local clubs as they get back on the field post-corona and spotted the Roos’ boots exchange: “[It’s] so important to creating an entry point for girls and women accessing sport,” he said.

“These girls are our future for Australian women in sport on the national and international stage.”

BY DAVID BELL

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