New Tiger cubs ready to roll with footy revolution
WITH the football revolution in full swing, the Tweed Coast Tigers have made sure they're at the forefront.
Through adding a premiership-winning soccer star, an endurance athlete, surfers, basketballers, netballers and a rugby league player to a mix of sporting newcomers, the Tigers have the foundations of a strong women's side, which will run out for the first time together today.
The Tigers women face Ballina first up at Pottsville Memorial Oval in the lead-up to reserve grade and senior men's clashes.
The team had their inaugural jumper presentation on Thursday night and named soccer player Rachel Kelly as captain.
"We are all so excited about the season ahead and I'm really surprised and honoured to be named the first ever captain,” Kelly said.
"I initially didn't plan on playing (Aussie Rules) but like many in the team, I was drawn in by the supportive and inclusive environment at the club.”
Kelly is one of many experienced sportswomen to join Tigerland, having won four premierships in the past four years with the Pottsville Football Club.
"There is such a range of backgrounds among the team from soccer to surfing and everything in between,” she said.
"We all bring something different to the Tigers and we're enjoying the challenge of learning new skills and the physicality of the contest.”
With more than 1.5 million registered players, women and girls now represent almost a third of football participation across all AFL competitions and programs.
Tigers coach Katie Patison said those numbers are expected to grow further as the AFL Women's competition becomes firmly entrenched in the sporting landscape.
"As a team we travelled up to the AFL Women's grand final at the Gold Coast, it was amazing to see their skills and intensity,” she said.
"There are so many girls now playing in our junior competitions and Auskick here at Pottsville, it's great for them to see they have pathways to keep playing, but it's equally important to make it a fun and welcoming environment.”
Patison joins the club after stints with Central Magpies in Broken Hill, where she was a premiership captain, and the Coolangatta Blues.
The Tweed men's senior team will be looking for their first home win of the year when they face Ballina. The Tigers started the year with loss to Byron before securing their first road win last weekend against Port Macquarie - 10.14 74 to 9.5 59.
Saturday is also Partners Day at Pottsville with discounted food and beverages for players' partners and family, as well as a jumping castle for kids.
Match times - Pottsville Memorial Oval:
- 12pm - Rd 3: Tigers Reserves v. Ballina Reserves
- 1.30pm - Rd 3: Tigers Senior Men's v. Ballina
- 3.45pm - Rd 1: Tigers Women's v Ballina