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Casey Demons granted 2018 VFLW licence

Matt Burgan  August 17, 2017 7:20 PM

We have all agreed that the best thing for girls in this region, to develop their football, is the creation of the Casey Demons VFLW team

CASEY Demons have been granted a licence in the 2018 VFL Women’s competition, after Cranbourne Football Club, in consultation with Melbourne, Casey and AFL Victoria, decided to transfer its licence to Casey next year.

General manager of football operations Josh Mahoney said Melbourne and Casey have been in discussions for a few months with Cranbourne and AFL Victoria.

“We have all agreed that the best thing for girls in this region, to develop their football, is the creation of the Casey Demons VFLW team,” he told melbournefc.com.au.

“In all our dealings with Cranbourne Football Club, they have only had one focus – to do what was best for the girls in the area. As the minimum requirements for VFLW increase, along with the expectations of the girls, it makes it incredibly difficult for a community club to compete in the VFL.

“We thank Cranbourne Football Club for their commitment to women’s football and particularly for the work they have done the last few years, whilst competing in the VFL. We are committed to developing the best program that we can for the girls, providing quality coaching, support staff and facilities at Casey Fields.”

Mahoney said Melbourne and Casey were delighted to be the first aligned clubs to have an AFLW and VFLW teams.

“We are proud of our position, as pioneers for women’s football, to be the first club to field both an AFL and VFL team, which again shows our commitment to developing women’s football,” he said.

“The decision to field a VFLW team is part of a broader plan, which we are working towards in conjunction with Casey Demons and the City of Casey, to create a football hub for the south-east region.

“Our ambition is to create a football hub that is embraced by the community, with programs and facilities, which provide genuine pathways for talent and participation for both boys and girls in the region.”

Melbourne already has a Casey presence on its men’s and women’s list.

Last round’s star, James Harmes, who kicked three goals against St Kilda, comes from the City of Casey. He hails from Clyde and played junior football for Devon Meadows, before he was recruited by Melbourne as a rookie from the Dandenong Stingrays.

Last year, Melbourne drafted Tim Smith and Declan Keilty from Casey in the VFL.

Smith made his AFL debut in round three year, playing two matches, before injury ended his season. Keilty has been making strong progress for Casey Demons this year, playing his best VFL game for the year last weekend.

Melbourne forward Jasmine Grierson, who kicked the club’s first AFLW goal and received a AFLW Rising Star nomination in 2017, and boom recruit Bianca Jakobsson, who played with Carlton in the inaugural AFLW season, are both currently playing for Cranbourne in the VFLW.  

Mahoney also said that Melbourne and Casey’s impact in the south-east region was not just with its elite sporting teams.

“This starts with the work that we currently do in the local schools, our recently established Next Generation Academy, our support of current talent pathways through AFLSE/TAC Cup and our Casey Demons VFL and VFLW teams,” he said.

“AFL football is very strong in the south-east region and it is important that local boys and girls are given the opportunity to play at VFL level.

“We are excited by the conversations that we are currently having with the City of Casey, education providers and local businesses, regarding the programs and what we could potentially build in the region.”

AFL Victoria chief executive Steven Reaper said the new partnership was important for the four key parties: AFL Victoria, Melbourne, Casey Demons and Cranbourne.

“Cranbourne believes Casey, and its association with the Melbourne Football Club, is well placed to help further develop its current players and female football in the south-east region, and decided the club will focus its attention on teams at a community level,” he said.

“With minimum standards for VFL Women’s increasing, and as the level of professionalism rises with the introduction of AFLW, Cranbourne were going to be challenged to meet the requirements needed going forward.

“Cranbourne has provided great opportunities for women in the region to play state-league football, and should be commended for the work they have done over a number of years in the VWFL, and the part they played in the formation of VFL Women’s over the last two seasons.

“We are confident Casey will continue this work, using its association with Melbourne to provide state-league facilities, medical and conditioning resources for the new team, and will continue to provide opportunities for coaches, players and administrators from the region, further enhancing the talent pathway.”

AFL Victoria has received interest from several AFL and VFL clubs for the 2018 VFL Women’s season, with formal applications to be received by August 30.

It will announce any new clubs for the 2018 season by October.