The Hamilton Wildcats made history at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Toronto this past Saturday (May 5).
Last season, the Ontario Australian Football League introduced women’s footy to its leagues to compliment the 11 Division 1 and six Division 2 men’s teams. The Wildcats found some minor interest but were unable to get enough players to field a women’s club for the 2011 season. But that wasn’t the case on Saturday and the results of an off-season recruiting and promoting program were evident.
Officially the Wildcats won when the Toronto Dingos had to forfeit because they didn’t have enough players. The Wildcats, however, had more than enough players, and rather than not play a game, some of the Wildcats became Dinos for the day.
The Wildcats not only played their inaugural game of Women’s footy but they dominated the Toronto Lady Dingos, 96-1 (13.18 to 0.1)
Harley Graef, coaching his first game of footy at any level, did a random draw of names for who would go over to the Lady Dingos for the day, as both clubs were too excited to leave the oval without having the opportunity to at least kick the footy around and experience some real time game action first hand. Wildcats Laura Sferrazza, Jenn Newton and Ashley Bartolo “traded” their Hamilton jumpers for the Toronto’s red and black..
As the game got underway, it became obvious the game was going to be a bit of a one-sided affair, as Hamilton’s Jodie Fluit dominated in the ruck, winning practically every tap and ran well around the ground giving support to her rovers and using her height to her advantage. Fluit also kicked the historic first women’s goal for the Wildcats.
The Wildcats had great skill and pace around the oval, with forwards Emily Spicer, Bonnie Wallingford and Georgia Reid working well together up front and creating havoc for the Dingo defenders in front of their goals. Women’s captain Kendra Heil showed why she was selected to lead both on and off the oval by coach Graef, as she put her years of rugby experience to good use, positioning herself in front of her Dingo tagger extremely well, taking several impressive overhead marks and finishing with seven goals.
The Lady Wildcats play again on Saturday (May 12) against the Central Blues at Colonel Samuel Smith Park, starting at 3:15 p.m.