The AFL Outer East will welcome Beaconsfield Football Club and Pakenham Football Club into its Senior Women’s competition in 2021.
The two sides, who previously competed in the South East league, will move across to the Outer East league where they will now be in alignment with their club’s men’s teams.
They will be following in the footsteps of Officer, who joined the Outer East women’s competition this time last year.
Beaconsfield first fielded a senior women’s side in 2016, and notably won the South East Women’s Division 2 premiership in 2017, while Pakenham established their inaugural women’s team in 2018.
Beaconsfield Football Club President Troy Robinson said the professionalism of the AFL Outer East was a major drawcard for joining the league.
“The AFL Outer East is building a really exciting competition, which we’ve seen with the enthusiasm they’ve put into the men’s, and it’s really important for us that our women’s program stays aligned with our men’s,” Robinson said.
‘We’re excited to come in and make an impact in 2021. We have an exciting list and a fantastic mix of youth and experience.”
Pakenham Football Club Operations Manager Tom Dalton said the Club was looking forward to having the women’s and men’s senior teams under the same banner.
“We want to be more united as a Club and this will allow our fans to be able to support both teams on the same day,” Dalton said.
“We think we’ll be competitive and we’re excited to provide a better pathway for our junior girls.
“We’re looking forward to a different competition and a chance to play against different teams on different grounds”
The Outer East was set to run a stand-alone female competition in 2020, after previously having worked in conjunction with the Eastern Football League.
Due to the cancellation of the 2020 season, this stand-alone competition will now run for the first time in 2021.
The league will also offer an U19s women’s competition for the very first time.
AFL Outer East Regional General Manager Aaron Bailey said he was excited to see women’s football in the region reach new heights.
“We’re delighted to be expanding women’s football in the Outer East with the inclusion of Pakenham and Beaconsfield in the senior women’s competition, and the introduction of an U19s competition,” Bailey said.
“Both clubs have established women’s programs which will add considerate depth to our women’s competition in 2021 and beyond.“
“It gives us the opportunity to increase women’s football participation in our league and bring the Outer East community together through double headers and new rivalries.”