Who could forget the unprecedented 50,000 fans who rocked up for the opening weekend of the Australian rules football league for female players (AFLW), with more than 24,000 in the stands of Princes Park alone to cheer on their new female football Carlton and Collingwood heroes.
The game was a lock out with thousands of fans turned away from a packed Ikon Stadium bursting at the seams.
The combined peak television audience reported from Fox and Seven was well over one million.
A new crop of sporting talents including Daisy Pierce and Katie Brennan have become household names.
Importantly this momentum has translated into more Victorian women and girls inspired to emulate their new AFLW heroes.
Women’s football is now the fastest growing segment in Aussie rules.
A whopping 1700 new female teams joined competitions across the nation thanks to the inspirational AFL-Women’s competition. Women and girls now make up 30 per cent of all players.
We’re also seeing similar growth in cricket, soccer, basketball, just to name a few.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. But proof of the old adage that when you can see it, you can be it.
That’s why the Victorian Government is proud to partner a range of sports like AFL to create a level playing field for women and girls in sport.
We’ve kicked in a record breaking $14 million for the female-friendly facilities fund towards building modern, new women’s change rooms across Victoria.
So far over 50 game-changing female friendly projects across the state, from Wodonga to Frankston have shared in more than $5m, with more to be announced later this year.
Our Country Football and Netball Program has teamed up with the AFL, AFL Victoria and Netball Victoria and is getting on with ensuring rural, regional and outer metropolitan footy and netball players have better access to the modern, safe and inclusive sport facilities they deserve.
Since 2005 it has supported more than 480 projects across rural Victoria with more than $26.5 million in grants.
Over the last 18 months our Supporting Victorian Sport and Recreation Program has helped organisations like VICSPORT boost the female leadership ranks in sports administration across the state.
Our new Office for Women in Sport and Recreation is also spear heading a range of Change our Game initiatives to provide leadership and education pathways for women to succeed from the playing field to the board room.
And with the launch of season two of the AFLW just a few weeks away, we not only hope to see more classic grabs and goals, but even more women and girls inspired to join their local clubs and follow in the footsteps of our latest batch of home grown AFLW sporting heroes.