Wrest Point TSLW to expand in 2019

The development and expansion of the Wrest Point Tasmanian State League Women’s competition is set to continue with both Lauderdale and North Launceston entering from the 2019 season. 

This expansion will see the Wrest Point TSLW competition move closer to mirroring the Men’s Bupa Tasmanian State League.

AFL Tasmania CEO Trisha Squires said “this is another important milestone for female football in Tasmania.  Our game has seen amazing growth in recent years and it’s important we continue to provide opportunities for female footballers.”

AFL Tasmania’s TSL State Manager Carl Saunder is excited by the growth and development of female football and the Wrest Point TSLW competition.

“To have both Lauderdale and North Launceston entering the competition next season moves us closer to our goal of having a State League Women’s competition that replicates the Men’s game,” Saunder said. 

The arrival of both Lauderdale and North Launceston will be followed by North Hobart, with the club being granted a licence for entry from 2020. 

Lauderdale and North Launceston will join Clarence, Glenorchy, Launceston and Tigers FC in a six-team 2019 Wrest Point TSLW season.

“Today is a really exciting, landmark day. 

“Next year will see the Wrest Point TSLW competition expand to six teams, with the aim of having the current seven TSL clubs compete in the competition from 2020 onward,” Saunder said. 

“North Launceston has had a provisional licence for 12 months now, so it was always the plan to build steady progress around the expansion of the competition.

“Lauderdale dipped their toe in the water a few years ago in relation to female footy and this year they played in the SFL and have built from the bottom-up with a youth program. This is what we think is the right model for clubs to build female football.

“Similarly North Launceston has started from the bottom up with youth teams and played in the development series we held earlier this year; so they are ready.”

This expansion is reflective of the booming growth in women’s football in Tasmania, with female participation in club football experiencing a growth of over 45% in 2018 – something that will only be beneficial to the Tasmanian football landscape moving forward. 

“What we know and what we see is that the female game is creating new opportunities for people who don’t normally connect with football to come along and play or support it,” Saunder said.

Through the mirroring of the senior TSL men’s competition, the Burnie Dockers have chosen to withdraw from the Wrest Point TSLW competition and are likely to join the NWFL Women’s competition from 2019. 

AFL Tasmania Female Talent Manager, Leigh Elder, confirmed that work will continue on the north-west coast to provide opportunities within the talent pathway. 

“We will work with the north-west in finding the appropriate opportunity to showcase their best talent, so all players in the state have the opportunity to progress through the pathway,” Elder said. 

“We will certainly work with stakeholders on the north-west coast. Jamie Hayward is now full-time in talent development in that part of the state, so we will work with each individual – both male and female – to make sure they have the right support and resources,” Saunder said.

Elder also emphasised the importance of the Wrest Point TSLW competition. 

“Having a strong Wrest Point TSLW competition will support the state’s best talent and provide further pathways for aspiring females who have dreams of playing for the Tasmania Devils in the TAC Cup Women’s competition from 2020 and ultimately the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos at the AFLW elite level.”