So last weekend we saw the second round of the AFLW and with trepidation, some suggested that this round will see a markedly decrease in supporter numbers attending the game, well, there was a drop, but not one that anyone should be concerned about.
We did not see the blockbuster opening game of two old foes, Carlton Collingwood, but we did see supporters attend the games and watch them with the same excitement and vigor as the opening round. We saw matches played with the same gusto and intensity as we expect the men’s game to be played and so proves to anyone who tried to dismiss the validity of the women’s league that this is here to stay and what it brings is a new positivism and future for females across the board who want to now view playing footy as a viable career path.
On that same weekend, I was privileged enough to be allowed to watch the men’s last 15 minutes of their training session on the Sunday and not only got a few signatures on my new Carlton away Guernsey but also speaking to a few players. I congratulated Dennis Armfield about his role in the Leadership Group and said it was well deserved, he thanked me. I also said to Bryce Gibbs that I was glad he was still playing for Carlton and his response, was firm and resolute, which also surprised me, he said that he had never any intention of going anywhere else.
On the way home, as I couldn’t stay for the Family Day or match, walking on crutches after foot surgery, is rather difficult, we went pass Richmond’s ground and saw Richmond supporters leaving the ground as they had had an open training session. Then at home I watched the matches of the WAFL and right then I realized that next month, very soon, the AFL season begins.
Then on Monday, an article in The Age was published about this year we are going to see Brendon Bolton, the coach really come into the fore. That there is a new positivism in Carlton and that the club as a whole is now focused on one aspect, success in both the men’s and the women’s competition and that the old mentality of the “boys club” has well and truly gone. That Kade Simpson is not going to give up on being a part of a Premiership team.
What has all of the above got to do with each other, well simply put, for the first time in a long time the Carlton Football Club is one unanimous, success-seeking club where everyone is on board to achieve this. That no matter who you are whether you are a player, coach, administrator or a true supporter, the end goal is the same, success, but it is not just success on the field, but off as well, as both go hand in hand. That the divisiveness of the past has been eradicated for a collaboration of success for the present and future and each person plays a part.
The women’s competition are showing that everyone can now play footy, that Carlton’s women’s team are in a privileged position of being part of a new era in footy. That players of great caliber are part of the emergence of a new Carlton Football Club and no matter what the media may say, they are not going anywhere. That the true supporters of this club know that it started last year, but 2017 will show the footy world that Carlton are going to be back on top and a powerhouse in AFL for all the right reasons and if there are those who still want to disagree, to criticize what they don’t understand or profess they know better, then just so you know, you are in the minority, you are in the past. GO BLUES!