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GWS Giants back Western Sydney’s first women’s AFL team
Western Sydney's first women's AFL team has started to kick more than goals thanks to the support of the GWS Giants.
Last Saturday (5th April), the Auburn Tigers women's AFL club took to the field sporting new colours and the name Giants in the opening match of Sydney Women's AFL.
Player/coach Lael Kassem told the ABC, "we've just generated so much interest for AFL and for girls playing sport.
"We've got girls who have never played sport who come in to take this opportunity with both hands and smash it."
Kassem won the Giants Women in Community Football Award last year, and says many of the players enjoy the team bonding as much as winning matches.
She adds "the footy is what brings us to the ground, but for our girls it's the sisterhood, it's more of the social aspect which is something that the girls belong to."
The Auburn Tigers formed in 2011 as the first women's club in Sydney's western suburbs.
They initially made headlines for breaking stereotypes, as many players on the team were Muslim women from diverse cultural backgrounds.
It is that diversity in the club that caught the attention of the GWS Giants.
Giants Chief Executive David Matthews stated "the Auburn Tigers celebrate diversity and inclusion in western Sydney and we are delighted to welcome them to the Giants family.
"To have over 100 women from culturally diverse backgrounds become involved in AFL is a power statement about the impact of the game in western Sydney."
Senior Giants player Sam Frost joined the team for drills in a training session last Wednesday before Saturday's season opener.
Frost says it is encouraging to see AFL growing in predominantly NRL heartland, explaining "it's great for us in spreading the Giants brand throughout western Sydney.
"We are trying to build a supporter base in a predominantly rugby environment and it's hard work for us, so to team up with a team like this from western Sydney is great for us."
Club founder Amna Karra-Hassan says the team has faced many struggles, including racism and community stereotypes, but has worked through them.
Karra-Hassan stated "the first one is within the broader AFL community where people probably thought they would never see Muslim women from multicultural communities participating in AFL.
"The second place is within multicultural communities themselves."
"Auburn is a beautiful diverse rich place. It's got so much culture and vibrancy."
They will play in a curtain raiser when the GWS Giants take on Carlton at Spotless Stadium in June.
25th February 2014 - GWS GIANTS NEW HOME GETS OFFICIAL OPENING
9th December 2011 - AFL INDIGENOUS PROGRAM RECEIVES BEYOND SPORT AWARD
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