After two years as a trial sport as part of the Queensland Girls Secondary Schools Sports Association (QGSSSA) competition, the QGSSSA Board has endorsed and approved Australian Football as an official sport from 2024.
From Term One 2024, girls’ secondary schools can participate in the competition, which will support the development of players and coaches in a school environment.
Head of AFL Queensland Trisha Squires said she is excited to see Australian Rules be offered as an official sport within QGSSSA from 2024.
“At the AFL, it is our mission to become the most accessible, inclusive and visible sport in Australia and the number one sporting choice for girls and women,” she said.
“In Queensland, we’ve seen a 72 per cent increase of girls playing in our junior competitions since 2019. We’re pleased to have another pathway for girls to play Aussie Rules.
“We’ve invested significantly in QGSSSA through resourcing and delivery of the competition, but also through the development of skills, confidence and capacity of staff and students, so it’s fantastic to see it come to fruition.”
AFL Queensland’s Participation and Programs Manager – Schools, Diversity and Inclusion Jeff Neumann said, “Aussie Rules becoming an official sport within the QGSSSA competition is an important step in the continued growth of the game in Queensland.”
“In 2021, Aussie Rules was offered as a trial sport in term four, with more than 1,200 students participating, leading to the introduction of the game as a trial sport for 2022 and 2023.
“The quality of the competition has continued to improve, and we’re excited to see new and returning teams in 2024.
“The QGSSSA is a promising pathway to professional sports for girls in secondary school. Through the competition, AFL Queensland will facilitate coaching development opportunities, as well as the chance to engage with Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS AFLW teams to support their skill development.”
QGSSSA Executive Officer, Amy Anderton said Australian Football is the 16th official QGSSSA sport and already has growing interest from students.
“It is an exciting time for QGSSSA sport to have Australian Football endorsed as an official sport,” she said.
“The interest in Australian Football has been building year on year as our students have progressed from sampling the sport in skill development sessions to now competing in modified structured competitions.
“The partnership between QGSSSA and AFL Queensland has continued to thrive as we build the skills and confidence of our students and move them along the participation pathway. The QGSSSA is greatly appreciative of the ongoing support of AFL Queensland to ensure we can provide our students with a well-resourced competition and wonderful match day experience.”
The announcement also sees the Brisbane Lions and Caltex partner with the QGSSSA to promote the pathways to the AFLW through the competition.
The current QGSSSA member schools are Brisbane Girls Grammar School, Brisbane State High School, Clayfield College, Ipswich Girls’ Grammar School, Moreton Bay College, St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School, St Hilda’s School Gold Coast, St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School, St Peters Lutheran College and Somerville House.