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Encouraging all women to love the game

It’s fitting that this Women’s Health Week falls in the midst of the Swisse Wellness VFL Women's Love the Game finals series.

The Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation is delighted to be caught up in the footy fever, sharing the naming rights to this month’s competition. Not only does this series feature the best footballers in the country – many of whom also play AFLW – but it showcases the pathway these top athletes can now follow from junior through to senior elite sport.

We’re proud of the contribution our Love the Game sporting initiative makes to supporting and promoting female sport across the state.

Studies have shown that participating in sport and other physical activity is beneficial for physical, emotional, social and mental health. The benefits range from supporting the prevention and management of diseases such as coronary heart disease, strokes, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, to increased body and bone strength, the prevention of obesity, an improved sense of wellbeing, and an increase in social connections.

‘I love being part of a team, the relationships, working towards a common goal with a bunch of like-minded people, wanting to challenge myself physically and mentally and pushing my boundaries further than I ever thought I could,’ says Geelong VFL player Anna Teague.

‘There’s a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction from completing a gruelling pre-season conditioning session alongside my team-mates that leaves us sucking in the oxygen with hands on knees.

‘At any level of participation, we can always surprise ourselves.’

AFL Victoria and the VFL have longstanding partnerships with the Foundation which have only strengthened with the emergence of female footy. These strong and confident women don’t just demonstrate skill and teamwork when they play but epitomise the love of the game, not the odds.

‘Being part of the women in Australian Rules football movement has been an incredibly rewarding experience,’ continues Anna.

‘I’ve been fortunate to watch the game grow at all levels; to witness and feel the groundswell of support. As a player in the inaugural Geelong VFLW and AFLW teams in 2017 and 2019 respectively, I remember the immense sense of pride I felt running onto the ground, not only because I was representing the Geelong Football Club, but also women.

‘It’s about inclusion and opportunities for all. I love that there is a place for all shapes and sizes on a football team.

‘My favourite part of women playing football is the bigger picture of social change – we are hearing young people, regardless of gender, discussing their games on the weekend, unaware of the previous status quo. They don’t know any different.’

The Foundation has similar partnerships through netball, cricket, soccer and community programs like Reclink that are also supporting female participation at all levels.

To get active and get involved this Women’s Health Week and beyond, check the website.

Anna Teague

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