These are the tales behind the people of AFLW.
This is... Stories of GenW
Julia & Betty
AFLW Round 7, Western Bulldogs v Carlton, Pride Match
Betty (Nan): We came today (besides being here for Hannah of course!) because we just love watching girls play footy.
Julia (Mum): We always get nervous watching Hannah out on the field.
Betty: I just like to see her walk off at the end of the game, doesn’t matter what the score is.
Julia: I played for the Parkdale Panthers. I had one game…and put a girl in hospital with concussion! I am fair dinkum.
Betty: Hannah’s grandfather was an athlete who played for Cheltenham and he had a run with Melbourne at one stage. He just had a try out, but it was muddy in the middle and he did his ankle!
Julia: Hannah’s brother was a very good footballer with the Dandenong Stingrays.
Hannah started in the Carrum Patterson Lakes Under 9s. She told me she wanted to play football and I said no because she’d just gone over the handlebars of her bike and taken her front teeth out. We spent a long time restoring them. So, I told her she couldn’t play football.
That didn’t stop her obviously.
She rang me one day at work and said, “I’m going to footy training!” and I said, “Oh no you’re not!”
She just hung up on me and took herself off to training, as an under 9-year-old.
Betty: Julia recently found her diary from when she was at that age and in every entry, she wrote, “I hope I play with the boys at Carrum.” It went on for around four pages, with illustrations too. There was also one that said, “Tomorrow I’m going to play my first game of football and I’m so excited.”
Julia: If I were to describe my perfect day at an AFLW match it would be today. Look at it!
I love watching footy in the balmy weather. It’s a big party. It’s done so well at Whitten Oval. It’s family friendly, it doesn’t matter what your beliefs are, everybody is welcome here.
To me, Hannah is a tremendous role model for young people everywhere to be strong and to believe, and to be open about who you are. As a family, I initially thought it was going to be very hard, particularly with Nan and Pa, but they were beautiful and accepting and loving.
Nan’s been there all the way. Every game.
Betty: One day Julia said to me, “I have something to tell you about Hannah.”
I was thinking, “Oh no what’s wrong? Is she ill?!”
Julia said, “She’s gay, mum.”
“Is that all?!” I replied.
When I spoke to Hannah she said to me, “Nan I am so happy that you’re happy!” and I replied, “If you’re happy I’m happy.”
And that’s the truth.
Today is an amazing day because the Western Bulldogs are so open with their support of the LGBTQIA community and all people everywhere.
Julia & Betty, Mum & Nan to Western Bulldogs’ Hannah Scott
AFLW Round 6, Marvel Stadium Double Header
I have been a North Melbourne supporter for 10 years, but this is my first time attending an AFLW game. I’m really excited to support the women here at Marvel Stadium.
I think it’s great that there are both women and men attending the game here today. Footy is such a big sport in Australia and it’s incredible that we are all now watching women in football together.
Today’s match has been pretty inspiring for me to learn a bit more about playing the game. I wish I played football. The players are amazing, the games have given me motivation to get fitter and stronger myself.
AFLW Round 5, Kangaroos v Adelaide Crows
My perfect day at an AFLW match is being with my two girls, Madison & Hayley.
I love that the AFLW matches are family oriented and the players come out and take some photos and sign autographs. That’s the part my daughters love the most. We also love having a kick after the game.
Being a Kangas member I’m hoping the team can keep going and stay on top and maybe win a flag in their inaugural season.
The AFLW gives my daughters something to aspire to. 10 years ago, you would never have thought women’s football would be what it is today. It’s becoming more professional year after year. It is perfect for young girls growing up in this day and age.
AFLW Round 4, Adelaide v Fremantle
The best thing about AFLW for me is being able to come and watch teammates I’ve played local footy with competing in the top league. It’s really good to see women out there.
This AFLW season I’m looking forward to the Crows hopefully winning the Grand Final. I follow Port Adelaide in the AFL, and I also designed Hawthorn’s indigenous jumper for last season. They’re wearing it again this year in Tassie. On the front of the jumper it has the Pukumani Poles, which are used in traditional ceremonies when people die. On the back are the circles of the Kulama, this represents the celebration of life.
I’ve been involved with St Mary’s Football Club up here in Darwin for about eleven years. I played first and then I became the coach, then team manager and then ended up playing again. We have three girls playing here tonight that used to play for St Mary’s. We wanted to come and support them here. St Mary’s is a good family club. For anyone wanting to head up to Darwin to play footy, I would recommend playing with us!
I love watching women play footy, they’ve come a long way. It’s really great to see them playing at this level. For a lot of the young girls in the Northern Territory it’s their dream to play AFLW.
Ashlee & Emmy
AFLW Round 3, Brisbane v Melbourne
My hubby plays AFL Masters and we’re regulars at the Brisbane’s men’s games. We’re here today because we also want to get out and support the women’s team too.
A perfect AFLW match for me would include a bit of shade in this hot Brissie Summer! I’d also like a good game on the field. This season I’m looking forward to seeing how much the players have developed from last year to this year.
I love that AFLW is contributing to the increasing profile of women’s sport. I also love how the country’s getting on board in supporting it and we’re seeing more of it on television. I think this is going to be really good for the player’s confidence overall this season and into the future.
We have two kids, Griffin who’s nearly 4 and Emmy here who’s 5. They have enjoyed the last few AFLW games we’ve been to. There’s lots of entertainment and the music creates a good family atmosphere.
Emmy’s dad certainly has an interest in footy and in exposing her to it! And I’m all for it.
When she grows up, I don’t think Emmy will really know a time where women’s sport didn’t have a profile. She’ll have access to whatever sport she wants to play at whatever level she can.
AFLW Round 1, Geelong v Collingwood
It’s my 74th birthday today. I am here because I want to support the AFLW competition and I’m a mad Geelong supporter. As this is the inaugural game, I thought, “what a wonderful way to spend my birthday!”
A perfect day for me today would definitely be a Geelong win, especially against Collingwood. It would also include having fun and lots of food with all my friends that are coming, who are mad Geelong supporters too.
I’ve been a Geelong supporter all my life. The first time I visited Kardinia Park I would have been six or seven years old. There used to be only two rows of seats in the whole ground. The gates opened at 10 o’clock, and us children would come and sit in the seats and our parents would arrive and kick us out of the seats when the game started.
We’d play kick to kick with the boys after the match which was fun, but we never dreamed of playing AFL. I did, however, play in one game. I was a teacher in Melbourne and all the female teachers played against the Form Two boys. It was a fantastic game.
When I think of what the AFLW competition means to me today, I think of women doing what they want to do without having society tell them what’s suitable for them.
Photographer: Michael Willson, Stories: Celia Drummond