By Annabel Sweetnam-Groom
Torn clothes, rain, laughter and ice packs on bums. This is just an average training night for the West Coast Angels.
The West Coast Angels are an all-female gridiron team, preparing to compete at a national level under the Ladies’ Gridiron League banner.
Hayley Smith, strong safety, says that it’s an exciting new sport in Australia that is just starting to take off.
“It’s an awesome sport!”
“It’s a contact sport but we like to call it a collision sport! It’s very high intensity, it’s explosive.”
Hayley says compared to the men’s version of gridiron there are minor differences, but they play just as hard.
Craig Toogood, defensive coach, says that while the men’s clubs are generally happy where they are, the girls have much more ambition.
“I got involved with the girls because they’re inspired, they really want to get better and they want to be professional.”
“Their intensity and their love of the sport is crazy in comparison.”
“I love women’s sports. I think there is no difference, they’re just as good as men.”
Joey O’Dell, strength and conditioning coach, was inspired to help the team when he saw the girls’ dedication.
“The commitment these girls give is just phenomenal.”
“Sometimes they go into the tackle it’s like phwoar!”
Elizabeth Yorkston, tight end, says she’s never felt more empowered.
Tegan Brown, quarter-back, says the most recent incarnation of women’s gridiron is the best it’s ever been.
“There’s a lot more in it for the girls now, it’s a lot more about the athletes and their performance on the field than their looks off the field.”