Stereotypes get the boot

NATIONAL TEAM: Australia’s Heather Ann Garriock in action for the Matildas.
NATIONAL TEAM: Australia’s Heather Ann Garriock in action for the Matildas. Li Yulongap

TACKLES are coming thick and fast on the muddy field.

The players are taking some hard knocks and the crowd is loving the spectacle.

But it's just another Friday night on the park for the Sunshine Coast's dedicated women in football.

Not too long ago, all football codes were considered off-limits to women and strictly men's business.

But here on the Coast, the fairer sex is proving Australian rules, football (soccer), rugby league and rugby union are no longer just for the boys and they too can mix it up on the pitch.

In fact, the number of female participants is on the rise in most codes.

Australian rules

Australian rules has a strong female supporter base and the girls' participation levels on the Coast aren't just confined to the juniors.

Caloundra Panthers Football Club this season started an under-15s girls team which will compete against other sides from across the Coast, including Maroochydore, Noosa, Coolum, Kawana and Nambour.

Club spokeswoman Christian Hunt said women's football was coming along nicely and players definitely gave their all at training and on game day - just like the boys.

"The girls are great," he said.

"Their aerial skills are quite good.

"They have a good understanding of space and they keep moving the ball fast.

"You'd be surprised by how physical some of the girls are.

"The hard men in footy are the guys who are happy to get their head over the ball and win it, and the girls certainly aren't afraid to do that."

Hunt said women's football was something that had been a long time in the making.

"We've been planning for this since November 2010," he said.

"We are just trying to create an extra pathway for girls to go on and keep playing (after the junior ranks)."

Hunt is also optimistic that the start of the under-15 girls' competition will flow on to the introduction of more women's football teams and maybe even the revival of an open women's team on the Sunshine Coast.

Thirteen-year-old footballer Stephanie Glover said she was excited to play against other girls on the Coast and is looking forward to the season ahead.

"I'm really excited," she said.

"We've been working on our skills with a special coach.

"We are really good at defence. Hopefully, we can win a few games."

Rugby league

Anyone who thinks women are too "soft" to put on a textbook tackle or take a big hit better not voice their opinion to the Beerwah Bulldogs open women's rugby league team.

Bulldogs captain-coach Tegan Rolfe said the women were just as every bit prepared as their male counterparts.

"We did our pre-season with the blokes and I think we definitely surprised a few of them," she said.

"We showed that we can throw as well as them and even hit as hard as some of them."

Rolfe said the women's side played against Brisbane teams and the competition was fierce.

"We are definitely in it to win it," she said.

"If we weren't serious then we wouldn't be here."

Rolfe said the team had been formed by an amalgamation of players between the Bribie Island and Sunshine Coast Sirens football clubs, making Beerwah home to several female footy talents.

"We've got a few rep players in the side," she said.

"We just want to show the young girls that there is a pathway for when you finish playing juniors. You can take it to that next level."


The Sunshine Coast Football Federation last year had more than 1200 registered female players - and numbers are expected to increase this year.

The Coast also has its own open women's representative team which plays against other top teams from Brisbane.

Representative side skipper Amber Vonhoff, 21, said that in the past few years, women's football had definitely received a shot in the arm in terms of participation and that the standard of play was ever-improving.

"The quality and the standard is a lot higher," Vonhoff said.

"Because it's premier women's, there is an expectation for players to go pretty hard.

"You know you have to work hard because you're playing against Brisbane teams and they are physically and technically stronger."

Vonhoff said football these days offered a lot more opportunity for women and girls to strive for rep team selection, with the pinnacle the Matildas national team level, while some even see their football as a possible stepping stone to a career path overseas.

"When I started out playing, there wasn't a lot for girls," she said.

"The way the structure is now, there is a lot of opportunity for development.

"There is a lot to still come.

"Female football is the one that gets squashed and goes under the radar but it is really coming out now and it's good to see that there have been improvements."

Vonhoff said that while women's football might not have the following of the senior men on the Coast, fans of the game might be surprised to see the extent of skill levels and abilities of the women's teams.

"We are obviously not as physical as the boys," she admitted.

"(But) In terms of motivation and dedication and technical ability, women have potential to be on par.

"We give it every bit as much effort as the boys."

Rugby union

Rugby union is the only football code that will not field a local women's team this year on the Coast. One of the four women's teams folded, causing the collapse of the competition.

USC Rugby Club president Shane Bridley said due to a lack of player numbers, the club was unable to field a women's side this season.

As former Coast champions, USC's decision to pull out had been "very disappointing", he said.

"We had always been a bit of a powerhouse in women's rugby - certainly in the time that I've been involved at the club," Bridley said.

"We had a couple of players interested and I contacted the girls that were previously involved, but I guess with things like work commitments and people moving away, circumstances change."

"We are obviously not as physical as the boys. (But) In terms of motivation and dedication and technical ability, women have potential to be on par."

>> Read more lifestyle stories.

Topics:  lifestyle stereotypes

Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Terrorism charges from Logan Islamic centre raid dropped

Omar Succarieh being brought to the Brisbane Police Watchhouse in 2014, (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Omar Succarieh, 33, had been set to face a Supreme Court trial

Logan Village theft

Do you recognise this person?

Stealing, Eagleby

Police would like to talk to the person pictured.

Local Partners


IF Logan City Council has its way, Springwood will be south-east Queensland's next CBD.

WATCH: NASA space station is live, see the view from above

In this picture taken from NASA's International Space Station from April 2015, the SpaceX Dragon is captured with the 57.7-foot-long Canadarm2 robotic arm before its installation to the Harmony module.

See the world from a new perspective as space station passes Rocky

Community garden set for Palmwoods

Kay Nixon at the Palmwoods Community Gardens will be hosting a launch day and inviting the ecommunity to come along and sign up.

Parcel of land to supply sustainable gardening for community

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Tom Cruise credits success to Scientology

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise credits his success to Scientology

Hacksaw Ridge leads AACTA Awards nominations

Andrew Garfield and Teresa Palmer in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

MEL Gibson's wartime drama opens in cinemas next week.

ABBA to reunite for virtual live experience


ABBA have confirmed they are to reunite - in virtual reality form

Hugh Laurie receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hugh Laurie on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Hugh Laurie and his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Blake Lively hosts 40th party for Ryan Reynolds

Blake Lively throws husband Ryan Reynold's 40th birthday bash

What's on the big screen this week

Benedict Cumberbatch in a scene from the movie Doctor Strange.

MARVEL'S latest superhero Doctor Strange makes his debut.

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June