Following on from the exciting inaugural AFLW season for the Cats, figures released show participation for women’s football is growing at an incredible rate.

Data released by AFL Barwon shows that the participation rate for women has grown from 403 players in 2016 to 1867 participants in 2019, a 363 per cent increase.

Of the 30 players in the Cats inaugural AFLW squad, 20 had previously played for the Cats VFLW side showing the strong representation of the region at the elite level.

Speaking to the Geelong Advertiser, AFL Barwon acting Regional General Manager Daniel O’Keefe said there was an expectation of more of the same for Geelong women’s footy.

“Currently there isn’t any indication of the growth plateauing,” O’Keefe said.

“Female Auskick participation is up and other regions that started female football before ours certainly haven’t tapered off either,”

“For us as a region our vision is to simply keep trying to provide further opportunities for growth in participation.”

“To achieve these heights in participation is certainly a collaborative effort by a number of different groups and people. Firstly, it takes a lot of effort, energy and passion to create any new team, so for the football/netball clubs across all leagues to help produce 65 female teams is enormous,” he said.

“On that note, to participate in a new sport can be an intimidating experience. The 1867 females that have put themselves out there to play should be commended.”

The Cats and AFL Barwon Talent ID days at Deakin University have been a key driver of local women to showcase their skills and ability to make the step up to the elite level.