29 August 2019

Ainslie Football Club leading by example in promoting women’s sport

| Tim Gavel
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Holly with Ainslie football club

The power women behind Ainslie Football Club. Photo: Supplied.

Coach of the Ainslie Women’s AFL team, Britt Tully, probably describes it best when she said that women are taking over.

Britt provided this observation when asked about the number of women involved in senior positions at the Club. This not only includes the coaching staff but also the power woman behind their major sponsor – Holly Komorowski from real estate agency home.byholly.

Holly says she became involved three years ago when her three daughters Annie, Charlie and Sinead started playing with the Ainslie club.

“We could see how much they enjoyed being part of the local club and the community,” she recalled. “There wasn’t any sponsorship for women’s footy and we thought it was really important to get on board.”

Holly’s three daughters are still playing and are currently in the under 16s coached by Teagan Cawley with her father Michael as her assistant coach on game day.

“It’s really good to have females coaching at the junior level as well,” Teagan says. “We’ve had a lot of women come through from other sports and we have seen girls joining from Auskick as well and playing all the way through to the seniors.”

The growth in numbers was never more evident than on the opening night of pre-season training. Seventy girls turned up to train.

The Ainslie Club this season fielded two women’s teams in the under 12s, two in the under 14 teams, two in the under 16s, one in the under 18s and two senior teams in women’s competitions.

The age range is phenomenal says Fiona Van de Made, coach of the senior women’s second grade team. “We have a really diverse group of girls aged from 15 to 53 years of age playing for the club at the moment in the seniors. I think everyone is keeping each other on their toes.”

Overseeing the Ainslie women’s program is Britt Tully, first grade player/coach, who is encouraged by the number of women in coaching roles at the club.

“It’s a rarity, she says, “In the AFL scene it’s definitely male-dominated. Hopefully if we can get more women involved it will become bigger and better.

“And on the big stage, it would be an actual thing to have a woman as the coach of an AFL team.”

Giving the players and coaching staff confidence to reach lofty heights has been Holly Komorowski’s greatest motivation. She is excited by this movement of women and girls being able to run around and kick the football and seeing how much they love it.

“I’m really excited to sponsor the club and to have so many amazing women now moving into coaching roles and mentoring these girls in their football careers.”

Britt, who is one of the stars of AFLW signing on to play her third season with GWS next year, says it’s vital to have people like Holly in their corner.

“It’s very important. We can feel wanted on a different level, and to have such significant sponsorship just for us, to have that as women, it probably would have never happened in the past and I’m not sure how many other clubs actually have it now either.”

My guess is that Ainslie is unique on that front, but with the vision of Holly, Britt, Teagan and Fiona, the professionalism, talent and support is secure into the future.

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