The Port Adelaide AFLW guernsey. Photo: Jack Hudson

The line in Port Adelaide's song, 'history in the making', is more than applicable today as the club sealed its entry in to the 2022-23 AFLW season.

The line in Port Adelaide’s song, ‘history in the making’, is more than applicable today as the club sealed its entry in to the 2022-23 AFLW season.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan made the announcement earlier today that all four of the remaining clubs yet to enter the competition – Essendon, Hawthorn, Sydney and Port – would complete the set.

At Alberton Oval, the mood was jovial as a proud chief executive Matthew Richardson addressed media in the soon-to-be redeveloped Williams Stand changerooms, which will be made fit for AFLW use.

“It’s really a momentous and historic for the Port Adelaide Football Club in our 151-year journey to now have the opportunity for young girls to dream of playing for Port Adelaide and run out just like boys have for the last 150 years,” he said.

“We’re thrilled and delighted, we’ve got a lot of work in front of us, but we’re really confident in the position we’re in.
We can’t wait for December 2022.

Port Adelaide has its sights set on a debut game against its fierce rival, the Adelaide Crows, which has dominated the competition since inception.

“Hopefully, as Gillon (McLachlan) suggested, a Showdown at Adelaide Oval in December 2022 to kick off our first first game in AFLW,” Mr Richardson said.

“Port Adelaide is unique, we bring that authentic history and heritage to AFLW, we bring rivalry through the Showdown and of course the the iconic game day.

“From a partner point of view, we’re really well positioned, we’re really excited that our partners are going to be coming with us on this journey and they’re investing and backing us on that. Also our members and our supporters, which is exciting.

More than 150 years in the making

While the AFLW has been only around for five seasons, the steps for female football have been around for over a century, particularly at Alberton.

“Some would say 150 years, women have had an enormous role to play in football club, just not on field. Now we get to complete that journey,” Mr Richardson said.

“There was a Showdown, I think in 2003, 2004 that Jenny Williams was really instrumental in the role that so many women over so many years have played in our club.

“While AFLW licence submission has probably been a real focus for the last 12 months, it’s really a journey that’s been going for a lot longer than that.

“This room that we’re in now probably hasn’t had anything done to it for 60 or 70 years, which is a bit scary in itself.
In the next couple of weeks that redevelopment work under here begins.

“The first stage is the renovations of the changerooms through the Williams Stand, which will allow for these change rooms to become AFLW compliant, which will be great for AFLW but also for the community sport.

“One of the one of our visions for the precinct here is that it gets used more as a venue for junior girls and boys in the district.”

Who leads the team?

While refusing to rule out a potential fairy tale homecoming for one of Alberton’s favourite daughters, Erin Phillips, Mr Richardson said the work for a senior coach and beyond begins this week.

“Chris [Davies] and his team will be in market, if not later this week, early next week for a number of really key roles. I guess we’ve done a lot of preparation. We have got some people in mind,” he said.

“I think part of this is about providing more opportunities for women and that’s not just on-field that’s in coaching, that’s in administration.


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“We’ve got some amazing women already involved in our club and one of the great things about AFLW and for us having our own team now will be providing more women with opportunities not just on field but through the whole club.

“I think we’ve all seen the growth of AFLW, which has been exciting, but more than that, the role that that’s played for women and girls, and then the growth of the game nationally, but more specifically in South Australia.

“I think if you look at what’s happened over the last five years here, it’s one of the things that makes us one we’re excited about, but two are really confident in, in the list that we’re going to be able to put together.”

The build up to December 2022

Port Adelaide had sought to enter the SANFL Women’s competition as a pathway for a number of years, but haven’t been able to do that.

However now, it will be a hunting ground for the club’s scouts.

“I think our view is now that we know that we’re in in season seven, which is December 2022, we’ll be putting all of our effort into that and making sure we’re as prepared as we possibly can be,” Mr Richardson said.

“But there’s no doubt that we’ll be paying even closer attention to what’s happening in the SANFLW, the talent that’s coming through in South Australia but also around the country, because we obviously we have a pretty important reason to do that.”

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