Inaugural Tweed Tigers women's side coach Katie Patison and player Bec Ruddock.
Inaugural Tweed Tigers women's side coach Katie Patison and player Bec Ruddock. Contributed

Tweed Coast Tigers join footy evolution

THE evolution of women's Australian Rules Football is in full swing and the Tweed Coast Tigers are front and centre.

As the female game prepares to go professional in 2017 with the AFL Women's competition, the Tigers are the first Tweed club to make their mark with the formation of a women's senior side.

Tigers president Ben Kelly said forming a women's side had been on the cards previously but the pieces had fallen into place after women's football burst on to the national scene in 2016.

"The interest is definitely there and we have been impressed by the talent on display at AFL 9s level,” Kelly said.

"There has been a push from within the club for some time to work towards a women's team and the club feels the time is right.”

Since forming in 2009, the club has won four senior men's premierships from six grand finals, but Kelly said 2017 was shaping up as the year to be remembered.

The club has signed experienced Pottsville player Katie Patison as its inaugural women's coach after stints with Central Magpies in Broken Hill, where she was a premiership captain, and the Coolangatta Blues.

While yet unsure of which competition the inaugural women's side would play in, Kelly said interest had been strong, with 10 experienced players and a host of those learning the game already committing to the side.

"The professional league legitimises the sport. It's in the psyche now, it's real, women play it and not just men,” he said.

While the club wants to provide a pathway for players coming through the system, Kelly said the side's first priority would be having fun while developing.

"The league has been running AFL 9's at Pottsville for the last few years and the girls got a taste for it. We're all about growing, so it's a big step forward,” he said.

"The market we're attracting is looking for fun, but hopefully we have players that aspire to higher things as the pathway is (now) there,” he said.

The club is searching for players of all abilities and will host a meet and greet at 6.30pm on Thursday, January 19 at Memorial Oval, Pottsville.