Aspiring AFLW stars had their opportunity on the big stage as part of the annual Optus Crows Cup curtain raiser at Adelaide Oval. 

Sacred Heart College, Seaford Secondary College, Westminster College and Unley High School competed ahead of the Crows match against the West Coast Eagles on Sunday July 18.

The Optus Crows Cup is an inter-schoolgirls football carnival aimed at encouraging participants to give football a go in a fun and safe environment.

The nine-aside carnival also promotes physical activity, is a female football pathway in South Australia and introduces positive role models.

Brad Kirk, a teacher from Seaford Secondary College, said the program gave students an opportunity to try a sport they may not have had an opportunity to in the past.

“Of the 11 girls we had playing, only four play regularly on the weekends and the rest have never touched a football competitively,” Kirk said.

“We are always looking for these opportunities to get our girls involved with sport and this was a great opportunity to reduce the costs that are involved with regular sport and give them exposure to great facilities and amazing coaches.

“The girls are just so excited and happy and gratefully to be playing on the Oval today and I would encourage any teacher to get involved if they get the opportunity.”

The young athletes were joined by AFLW stars Sarah Allan and Ebony Marinoff, who offered coaching advice to the players during game play and presented the winner of the round robin competition with an Optus Crows Cup Trophy.

Allan said it was exciting to give the young competitors an opportunity to play on Adelaide Oval after the strict COVID restrictions last season.

“For a lot of our participants, this competition is their first taste of playing football and this day on Adelaide Oval will be no doubt one they will remember,” Allan said.

“Like many girls my age, I grew up as the only girl in boy teams and I wish that there had been a competition like this when I was growing up.

“I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

In 2021, more than 4000 female students will participate in 19 Optus Crows Cup carnivals held across the state, including metropolitan Adelaide, Clare, Port Lincoln, Whyalla, Port Pirie, Mount Gambier, Naracoorte, Riverland, Barossa, Encounter Bay and the Yorke Peninsula.

To register your school’s interest in competing in your local Optus Crows Cup, please contact Samuel Tharaldsen