AFL continues to make its mark at Abbotsleigh


What a season we are having so far in AFL. From two teams’ training once a week in a four-week competition in 2018 to now having five teams training twice a week in an eight-week competition and the enjoyment on their faces seems to be increasing every time we see them.

To be honest, how could anyone not be excited by the opportunities they have had. Coaching from two Sydney Swans Academy coaches, a current AFLW player and other coaches who are have grown up with AFL and are equally passionate to pass on their knowledge of the game to our students. Not to mention the recent media interest in our program (click here for a link to the SMH article and Today Show segment). Most importantly is the training the players are receiving. With so many skills, rules, tactics and all the information students need to absorb, training has been well thought out by our Head Coach, Ben Carlyon and delivered by our great coaching team.

Having coordinated multiple sports at Abbotsleigh I have been impressed with the array of sporting backgrounds of the students who are taking part in AFL and how well everyone is picking up parts of the game. Every student brings something different to their team while all learning how to play together to achieve common goals.  Get the ball, move forward, kick a goal and have fun.

Here are some comments from our students on their recent experiences in AFL at Abbotsleigh.

Eva Flinn-Lim | Year 11

It is really encouraging that Abbotsleigh has introduced AFL, as it allows us to play a sport that is only beginning to become widespread among girls. I really enjoy the inclusivity of the sport as we play in large numbers on field, letting us meet new people from different years. The game has more freedom than other sports as it incorporates skills and techniques from a range of sports, enabling us to play to our individual strengths. I love the physicality of the game compared to other sports and don’t mind coming home with a few scratches and bruises. 

Felicity Bonny | Year 10 

I love the physical side of playing footy. Being able to have a run around and a bit of a push and shove on the field is what makes it fun. Playing in an amazing team of girls that are as passionate about footy as you are is also why I enjoy AFL so much. 

Arabella Foster | Year 8

The thing I love the most about playing AFL is that is doesn’t matter if you’ve been playing your whole life or you’ve just picked up a ball for the first time, it is really easy to get the hang of. When I decided to play, I didn’t expect to love it as much as I do, but the games are one of the highlights in my week. I don’t think of AFL being similar to any of the other sports I’ve played before but more of a combination of every sport, which is what makes it so enjoyable. I love the game because not many of the girls’ sports are very physical and allow you to tackle like you can in AFL. Research has shown that once girls reach high school more and more quit sport due to the stereotype that only boys can play sport and tackle. AFL encourages girl to defy this stereotype and being active while doing something they enjoy.

Olivia Crawford | Year 7

One, two, three ABBOTSLEIGH!

Hello, my name is Olivia Crawford and I am in Year 7.

I have never played AFL before, so I was super happy when I managed to (somehow!) score two goals in my first game!!!

What I love most about the sport is how it’s always go, go, go! You tackle, then get up and tackle again. Always trying to get the ball before the opposition. That ball is mine! AFL is a lot different to the other sports I have played because of how physical and fast it is.  You are always puffed and absolutely tired at the end.

Definitely playing rugby, touch and league tag before has helped me. Mostly in the basic skills like reading the play, catching and kicking. 

I would recommend this sport to anyone of all levels! It doesn’t matter if you have ever played football before of not. Besides you might find that you really enjoy it like I do! You could find out you are a really good at the ruck, or full forward or fullback! I personally like ruck rover!

Just remember handball, handball, handball and have fun!

Emily Ong | Year 12

The most challenging part of AFL is getting used to the new skills, ball and rules. The contact in the sport is also challenging as well as super fun! I love how physical AFL is and the competitiveness of the team. The greatest part is being able to have so many girls on the field and seeing everyone play a part and get involved in the action. AFL is different to the other sports I play as it involves a lot of tackling and physical contact. This can be scary as most of us aren’t used to it, but it also adds another level of intensity and excitement. I think playing ball sports such as basketball and netball have helped me. Although, arguably the most important skills in the game include teamwork and being competitive which I think can be developed from playing any sport in general. I’m so glad so many girls are getting involved with AFL this year! I have no doubt that the sport will continue to grow immensely in the next few years – I’ll be sad I’m not here to see it!!!



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