Girls Take Control of SCG

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Recently, the AFL celebrated Women’s Week to recognise the important role that females play in Australian football.

Whether they’re a participant, umpire, coach, administrator or volunteer women are an integral part of the game.

To celebrate Women’s Week the half-time Auskick during the Sydney Swans and Richmond match was for girls-only and for the first time was officiated by female umpires.

Six up and coming umpires were given an opportunity to showcase their talents on the hallowed turf of the Sydney Cricket Ground as part of the Green Shirt program.

Two of the girls, Naomi Holt and Caitlin Barlow, provided some memories of their half-time experience.

“It was a great experience for me. I was a little bit nervous to start with, but it was really fun. I enjoyed working with the kids and it was something I’ll never forget. When we were out there, I hardly even realised the crowd was there,” Naomi recalled following the experience.

A crowd of over 23,000 came and cheered on the girls as they officiated their matches at half-time.

“It was an amazing experience and I had a lot of fun doing it. It was a bit of a shock when I was chosen to umpire the youth girls instead of Auskickers but I'm glad I did. The crowd was intimidating at first but it was all good. I first decided to be an umpire because at the time both my brothers played for the Kellyville Rouse Hill Magpies and after seeing how welcoming the AFL community was I just wanted to be a part of it. My favourite part of umpiring is getting to meet new people and I love when I get the U/9's or 10's because they are so cute and listen to what you have to say," Caitlin said.

Umpire Development Officer Carl Fletcher said Women’s Week is a great initiative by the AFL.

“The girls that represented their regions did a fantastic job and had a great time umpiring on the SCG. Umpiring is a great way for girls to be involved in AFL and there are opportunities through Field, Boundary and Goal umpiring across NSW and the ACT. There is one female goal umpire in the AFL in Chelsea Roffey, and the AFL would love to see more girls take up umpiring and maybe even make the elite level like Chelsea.”

For more information on umpiring or to get involved speak with your closest umpiring development visit www.aflnswact.com.au.

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