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WOMEN COMMIT TO FLEDGLING FOOTBALL TEAM

In 2019, for the first time in its 90-year history, the Old Paradians’ Association Amateur Football Club is to field a women’s team . . . and at the Garvey Oval recently, two prospective female recruits Danielle Curcio and Makayla Paraskevas posed for the camera in traditional club guernseys on what was an information day convened by the club.

A former CLC student, Makayla’s connection with the Old Paradians is through his brother-in-law Ross Licciardi, who currently represents the men’s senior team.

“I was interested from the moment the women’s team was announced,” Makayla said. “I was going to play for another team, but Ross said to me ‘The Old Paradians are going to establish a women’s team, just hold back’.

“I’d never played before, primarily because I never had the time. I was working in hospitality which meant weekend work, but circumstances have now changed and I can.

“I’m 24, so I reckon I’ve got a lot of football in front of me. I’ve always loved the game, I’ve always wanted to play and my advice to anyone who might be keen to play for the Old Paradians is to get out there and have a go.”

In 22 year-old Danielle’s case, her brother’s partner Josh Sannwald, currently a reserve grade player, served as the conduit.

“I happen to live just up the road in South Morang and I played a year for South Morang Lions, mainly on a wing . . . I love playing the game and with the advent of AFLW a lot of women feel more confident in wanting to play,” Danielle said.

“The opportunity of starting afresh with new players in a growing team is exciting . . . and I’ll be doing my best when it comes to recruiting players, perhaps those who had a kick in high school and never went any further with it.”

Amongst those in attendance at the recent information day was Shelley Ware and Annie Surridge, both of whom have committed in off-field capacities to the development of the fledgling women’s team.

The Old Paradian Daniel Harford, now coach of Carlton’s AFLW team, spoke of “the game-changing phenomenon” that is women’s football and of its positive impact upon traditional clubs. Old Paradians’ Football Club President Mike Jolley concurred, saying that a women’s team would bring a new dynamic to the club, which had already secured expressions of interest from 14 female players - “a number which we need to get up to around 30-35 to allow for injury and unavailability”.

“If we can get that number by the end of January we’ll be well-placed,” Mike said. “We are a family club and we welcome anyone who wishes to be involved.”

The Old Paradians are proposing to enter an open age women’s team in the Development League of the VAFA which focuses on participation. The League is open to female footballers of varied skill levels and experiences, and of a minimum age of 16 years.

The club is currently taking expressions of interest from anyone interested in being part of this potential new and exciting adventure with a deadline of Friday, September 28.

Prospective players are urged to complete the short questionnaire that can be found via the following link - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LBJ8RV5.

Anyone seeking further information can contact Graeme Clark on 0417 392 482 or via gclark21@hotmail.com.