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Cats announce VFL women's side

Cats announce VFLW Women's team Geelong Cats will enter a Women's team in the VFLW for 2017

The Geelong Cats have taken a major step into the future, announcing it will enter a team in the 2017 VFL Women’s competition.  

The Geelong Cats VFL Women’s team will kick-start a new level of female football participation in the AFL Barwon region, and provide a clear talent pathway for all female players to embark on in their careers.  

The Cats will become the first AFL club to establish a VFL Women’s side after they assume the current Geelong Magpies licence. The Magpies have been a driving force in women’s football in the region and deserve huge credit for the way they have worked through this process.  

Earlier in 2016, the Cats were awarded a provisional licence for the AFL Women’s League after a pathway gap for young female footballers in the region was identified as part of the club’s application.  

“This will give young females in our region currently the opportunity to pursue their passion for football by playing with the Geelong Cats,” Geelong Cats CEO Brian Cook said.  

“To support the AFL’s decision in granting a provisional licence to the club, we believe the club has an immediate responsibility to address the current pathway gap and contribute to the development of female athletic potential in our region.  

“In 2017 we will establish a Women’s Academy, as we believe this will have a lasting and positive impact on the region. And, excitingly, the key component in delivering this academy is to establish a VFL team to kick-start the growth of the game in the region."  

The VFL Women’s competition will begin straight after the AFL Women’s competition, with most of the players expected to come from the local region.  

Features of the 2017 fixture will include double headers with the VFL men's team and home games at various venues throughout the local region.   

The Geelong Cats VFL Women’s team will be officially supported by Deakin University and the team will train predominantly at Deakin University’s Elite Sports Precinct at Waurn Ponds.  

Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander said the University was delighted to partner with the Geelong Cats VFL Women’s team to support women to achieve at the elite sporting level.  

“Deakin is committed to supporting the communities we serve, and we are particularly passionate about inspiring women to achieve at the highest level possible in whatever they do,” Professor den Hollander said.    

“Our sponsorship of the Geelong Cats VFL Women’s team builds on our support of women in sport, most notably in recent years through our sponsorship of the annual Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Women’s Road Race, and through the completion of our $8.4 million Elite Sports Precinct at our Waurn Ponds Campus, designed to lift participation of both men and women in a range of sports.   

“This new VFL Women’s team sponsorship also reflects the strength of our relationship with the Geelong Cats and our commitment to our communities.  

“Deakin and the Cats have a proud history of working together to support our communities since 2008, when the first intake of our sports science interns began at the club. Over time, our partnership has shown perfectly how sport and education can benefit the whole community.” 

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs