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SUNS TV: Touk Miller post-match

9:14pm  Apr 22, 2018

RD5: Highlights v Lions

8:50pm  Apr 22, 2018

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7:56pm  Apr 22, 2018

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10:39am  Apr 22, 2018

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11:19am  Apr 21, 2018

First AFL Women's Foundation Members unveiled

goldcoastfc.com.au  December 15, 2017 12:42 PM

SUNS TV: Get set for 2020 Suns CEO Mark Evans, Nicole Livingstone and Donna Gates speak to the media.

When the Gold Coast SUNS first began its journey as a club amid a groundswell of support from the local community, a number of people showed their support by signing on as Foundation Members. 

After securing a license to enter the AFL Women’s in 2020, another opportunity has arisen for a new batch of Foundation Members to make their mark on the club’s history.

Members will play a significant role in shaping the pathway programs for women in our zones as we move towards the national competition in 2020.

“It was done initially when the club started its progress towards a male team in the AFL competition and we’ve decided to repeat it again,” SUNS CEO Mark Evans told the media on Thursday.

“We think that there are a lot of people that they are very keen to say they were a foundation member of our AFL Women’s programs.”

MORE: SUNS unveil women’s path to 2020

The first AFLW Foundation Members have been unveiled, with Gold Coast Deputy Mayor Cr Donna Gate and former swimming champion and SUNS Board Member Sam Riley OAM among them.

They are joined by local Gold Coasters who have pioneered women’s football on the Coast in Lisa Battye, Fiona McLarty and Jenny Webber.

Battye is the driving force behind the Coolangatta Bluebirds, who up until 2018 have been the only team representing the Gold Coast in the QWAFL.  She has worked tirelessly for the team since their establishment in 2014. 

McLarty and Webber are familiar faces at GC SUNS HQ, where both women work in the AFL Queensland Gold Coast office. McLarty is the Gold Coast Regional Manager for AFL Queensland and has been working in the AFL industry for over 17 years.  She was the first full-time female development officer in Australia and has seen first-hand the growth of female football. 

McLarty was also instrumental in the development of the bid to secure a license to enter the AFLW in 2020 including presenting the submission to the AFL selection committee alongside Sam Riley and former Gold Coast SUNS Talent Academy member and recently drafted Brisbane Lions AFLW player Kalinda Howarth.

While Webber, the Gold Coast Juniors league administrator for 20 years, has been incredibly supportive in introducing the youth girls into the local competition.  The Gold Coast Junior girls competition was established in 2011 with 3 Under 17 teams and now has over 24 teams with 265% growth in the past 12 months.

“These inaugural memberships have been awarded to some people in our community who we think are deserving of that,” Evans said.

“These will not be the last of these that we award…as we look to acknowledge some key contributions and people who are prepared to play ambassadorial roles on this quest to get ourselves up to the very elite level.”

The whole club is getting right behind the women’s program, with senior coach Stuart Dew and recruit Aaron Young becoming the first Foundation Members from our men’s program to sign up.

To join them as AFL Women’s Foundation Members, click here.