LEGENDS FOOTBALL LEAGUE
The US-based Legends Football League is the world’s fastest growing sports franchise according to Businessweek magazine.
The re-branded game is coming to Australia on December 7 when the NSW Surge look to knock-off the Queensland Brigade in the season-opener at Centrebet Stadium in Penrith to launch the sport.
The LFL (formerly Lingerie Football League) has its critics but it’s become increasingly difficult to deny its status as an ‘‘elite’’ competition.
Gone are the garter belts, gone are the stick-thin models who couldn’t crush a grape – and gone is room for the faint-hearted.
‘‘I got knocked out last week,’’ Dapto’s Renae Hahn of the Surge said.
‘‘When it started, the girls were all 45 and 50kg models but they’d get eaten alive if they tried to play now.’’
Since it premiered in 2009, the LFL was named America’s fastest growing sports league, broadcast in 85 countries and securing the first ever video game deal in the history of women’s sports.
It’s now looking to spread internationally – and Australia is in its sights.
Hahn will line up for NSW, while Warilla’s Leah Turnbull will be starting at quarterback for the Western Australia Angels.
Hahn’s teammates will include Australia’s finest LFL export Chloe Butler and Mortaza Award (league MVP) winner Monique Gaxiola, both of the three-time LBL champions The Los Angeles Temptation.
‘‘They’ve won the lingerie bowl three times in a row and Monique won the Mortaza Award, so they know the game inside out,’’ Hahn said.
‘‘Chloe’s been with us for a couple of months now so she’s a been a huge help. We have a lot of other amazing athletes in our team.
‘‘Jacinda Barclay is the Australian baseball pitcher and she’s our quarterback, I’m a personal trainer and there’s a few of us in the team and a lot of the girls have come from really high calibre athletic backgrounds.’’
Hahn is one of the more versatile players in the Surge line-up – her netball background helps make her adept in offence and defence.
‘‘I play everywhere in defence, at safety and in corner so I’m a real utility,’’ she said.
‘‘Because of my netball background I can catch and run and move well as a wide receiver but I’m strong enough to be in the line.
‘‘We’ve only recently split into special teams, offence and defence, but we’re expected to play at least one offensive and one defensive position.’’
Given its origins, the sport inevitably attracts criticism but Hahn isn’t interested in justifying the game to critics.
‘‘I don’t really listen to the critics because I see how hard we work,’’ she said.
‘‘I don’t think it’s educated criticism; people just see it at face value.’’