AFL tells Illawarra girls to get lost

Madison Giffin and Jessie Mulholland just want to play footy with their mates, but AFL officialdom has ruled the 14-year-old girls are now too old to take on the boys.The Figtree Kangaroos team-mates have been told they can not finish the season because of an AFL national policy which prevents girls aged 14 and over from playing boys of the same age.The two were deregistered by the Illawarra junior AFL on June 3 in compliance with the policy but are fighting for their right to play."It's sad that we aren't allowed to play anymore just because we are girls," Madison said."We're not scared of playing against the boys. We just love footy."Jessie already had to change clubs to keep playing AFL at the beginning of the season and sees it as a fight for other young girls playing AFL."If we're allowed to play it will give other girls the chance to play as well next year and the year after," she said."This is not just about us."Kangaroos president Bill Reid said the club was prepared to back the girls' right to play and was now considering whether to take the case to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission and the Court of Arbitration of Sport.According to Mr Reid, the Figtree club has already been stripped of their competition points in all age groups for three rounds for playing the girls in their under 15 team."These girls are of equal size and ability to the boys and it was all right for them to play up to this year," Mr Reid said."There is nowhere for them to go (and play AFL) - it basically means they will be lost to the sport."Everyone is behind Madison and Jessie playing for the club."When this looked like it was on the cards we asked the (under 15) team and they all said they would rather lose (competition) points than play without the girls."The AFL has given the club the option of playing the girls in the under 13s but Mr Reid believes that would be dangerous to their younger opponents."There is more chance of them hurting someone in the under 13s than them getting hurt playing under 15s," he said.Mr Reid said Madison and Jessie, who trained with their team-mates yesterday, were hoping to play at Figtree Oval on Saturday."The option on Saturday is to run them on to the ground at the start of the game and then pull them off and get them to run water, so they are still a part of the team," he said.

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