Mundulla has joined the women’s footy craze with the introduction of the Tatiara’s first ever women’s football team.
The new side follows the success of Kybybolite in winning the SE Women’s Football League premiership in its first year in 2018. Penola is another KNTFL club to enter a side in the 2019 women’s competition, which has grown from eight to 11 teams.
The demand for a women’s football team in the Tatiara quickly rose after a number of girls expressed interest .
The inaugural team’s coach, Mundulla 500-game veteran Michael Hunt, said the girls’ strong desire to play football was what ‘made it all happen’.
“The girls were really keen on playing and they made noises to the committee, they did some homework, saw who was keen and once the club had 30 names of interested players we nominated a team and eventually were approved by the end of last October.”
Michael said he applied for the role as the coach, thinking it would be exciting and fun to coach a team full of enthusiastic, passionate women wanting to play football.
“There’s no sense of entitlement – they just want to play football,” he said.
“We have around 32 players and we’ve got girls from Mundulla, Penola, Kaniva and Bordertown.
“I’m sure other clubs in the district will eventually create women’s football teams when interest starts to rise and it becomes more popular.”
Michael said having a women’s football team in the Tatiara signified progress in the sport and district.
“I think the Australian Football Women’s League has increased interest, but some of our older players have been looking to do this all their life and it’s great that they can,” he said.
“There are players in their thirties who have wanted to play footy all their life and now the opportunities have opened up for them.”
Michael said it was interesting to observe a few general differences between men and women playing football.
“A lot of the women on the team are hockey or netball players and it’s interesting to see how their experience translates into their football playing skills,” he said.
“The netball girls are very good in close and they seem to be cool under pressure – football will help with their spacial awareness. The hockey players seem to be better out in the field.
“Because of the difference of gender and body shape, the girls seem to be a lot cleaner and better at picking the ball up off the ground but they don’t have the length of kick that most of the men do. The women are very balanced and clean players.”
The South-East women’s football league begins on February 3.