Today it’s Bassendean Oval. Tomorrow, it might be the glare of the MCG. Rising star of the local footy scene Kayla Augustynek believes that the time has finally come for women to pursue a career in the sport that was once a male-only domain. The Swan Districts women’s football club star is midway through her first official WAFL season, having played our national code as an unpaid amateur for years. “I feel women should be able to play the sport they love and have the same opportunities as the men, and I would love to make the AFL my career,” she said. “Knowing that you put your absolute best into the game and being rewarded for it, is a great feeling,” said the midfielder, who has won three “best on ground’’ honours in three of the five games of the season so far. Augustynek said women’s Aussie rules is growing at a significant rate, which is why she believes an expansion of teams within football is warranted by AFL clubs. “I think this increase is very important. Women’s AFL needs even more support – all genders should have the same chance because we are just as talented as the men,” Augustynek said.
Nationally, there are eight women’s football teams in the highest league and the WA Women’s Football League (WAWFL) has nine teams playing this season — Coastal Titans, Claremont Tigers, East Fremantle, East Perth, Peel Thunderbirds, Perth Angels, South Fremantle, Swan Districts and West Perth Falcons. Charlie Hedland, coach and adviser for the Swan’s women’s team says that AFL is finally growing to be a more equalised sport. “The first women’s AFL season being viewed on national television and playing on the same grounds as the AFL men is definitely a step in the right direction,” Mrs Hedland said. She said that the lack of support and open-mindedness for women’ s AFL in the past has made it hard to want to challenge other’s opinions or point of view on the sport. “The more exposure for women’s football the better,” she added.