Harvey girls make football history

Headshot of Briana Fiore
Briana FioreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Email Briana Fiore
Ella Ockwell, 14, Ruby-Anne Stokes, 13, Kaylee Johnston, 14, Mia Bartlett, 14, and Josie Ockwell, 10, are excited to be playing in their first junior football season.
Camera IconElla Ockwell, 14, Ruby-Anne Stokes, 13, Kaylee Johnston, 14, Mia Bartlett, 14, and Josie Ockwell, 10, are excited to be playing in their first junior football season.

History has been created with the formation of the first ever junior girls’ football team at the Harvey Bulls Football Club.

It is a move which narrows the gender divide and gives girls the opportunity to play one of the nation’s most loved sports.

The Bulls had enough sign-ups to fill a girls’ team this year and could potentially fill another with the amount of interest buzzing about the community.

Many of the girls had not picked up a footy before, while others had not been given an opportunity to play since their Auskick days.

The boys have previously been supported from the grass roots level through to the league competition — something the club was excited to start offering the girls.

The girls were presented with their new jumpers, which were sponsored by Harvey Water, at their first training session last week.

The Harvey Bulls has its first ever junior girls' team.
Camera IconThe Harvey Bulls has its first ever junior girls' team.

One of the energetic new recruits, Ella Ockwell, said she was delighted to be given the opportunity to play.

I think it is pretty special to be the first ever girls’ team at the Bulls.

Ella Ockwell

“I have not played footy since I was six and it has taken eight years to get a girls’ side.”

Her sister Josie is too young to play with the girls’ side yet, but said she was excited to be able to train with them.

“At the moment, I play in the boys’ competition because there is not a girls’ team for 10-year-olds yet,” Josie said.

“I love the sport and I am just really happy to play.”

Another young player, Kaylee Johnston said she watched football on TV with her dad and could not wait to run out onto the field.

This is my first time playing, it is wonderful that girls can play footy too.

Kaylee Johnston

Coach Kurt Haunold said he was ecstatic to introduce the first ever girls’ side.

“The club is so proud to have a girls’ team,” Mr Haunold told the team.

“It does not matter if you’re an athlete who has played at State level, or if you have never picked up a footy before.

“What you learn on the field and the life skills and confidence you will get from the game is what counts.”

Mr Haunold said football was the fastest growing girls’ sport in the country and welcomed new members.

Despite strict COVID-19 restrictions, junior football will start in one week and players will have to sanitise their hands and will not be able to share water bottles or shake hands.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails