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AFL Masters Tour of IrelandMonday, February 26, 2024 - 11:31 AM


The Australian Women’s AFL Masters team will make history next month when they travel to Ireland to play the inaugural International Rules Series between Australia and Ireland in Galway and Cavan.

The women’s team comprises players aged 36-52 and was selected from those competing at the AFL Masters National Carnival in Maroochydore last October.

The Australian side includes four West Australians, Trish Medwin, Julie Nichols, Taneika Handley, and Estelle Dragstra.

The team, coached by the highly credentialled Lisa ‘Kiwi’ Roper and assisted by Tracey Kick, has been selected with a running game in mind.

“We expect the Irish girls to present a fierce challenge both with their running style of play and their obvious advantage in controlling the round ball,” she said.
“We embrace the challenge, and the girls will be ready for the contest”.

The tour will also see Masters Men’s teams contest in the 40+yrs and 50+yrs category, led by playing coach, Brownlow Medallist and three-time AFL premiership player Jason Akermanis.

The Australian Men’s 40s side includes three WA players, Shane Joyce, Clint Westlake and Rowan Arnott.

Fellow West Australian Clint Degebrodt is an Assistant Coach.

Degebrodt is the Head Coach of the Australian Men’s 50s team which includes seven West Aussies.

Gavin Huntley, Chris Maguire, Darren Olsen, Paul Omodei, Ernie Sharpe, Glenn Bryant and Brett Hall are in the touring party.

But it’s the Australian Women who have attracted significant interest and publicity in Australia and Ireland.

AFL Masters General Manager, Adrian Raftery is delighted with the rapid development and popularity of AFL Masters among women players, many playing the sport for the first time.

“The AFL Masters has been played by the men since 1980, with the women’s competition commencing in 2016,” Raftery said.
“Since then, we have seen an explosion in the number of women playing AFL Masters, with more than 4,000 having strapped on the boots.

“The opportunity to play footy may have been limited in the past, but the floodgates are well and truly open today”.

With the popularity of the women’s game now firmly established, it is expected that International Rules series between Australian and Irish touring teams will be a regular fixture on the AFL Masters calendar.

The 22 members of the Australian Women’s squad held a training camp in Sydney earlier this month.

Women’s head coach Lisa Roper was excited to see the progress of players, have the opportunity to experience the modified game, and to build team culture over the two days of the camp.

With the tour entirely self-funded by the players, coaches and officials, the tourists received a great boast when AFL Masters women’s patron Susan Alberti contributed a generous donation of $25,000 donation to be shared between women’s and men’s Australian teams. 

“We are grateful for the tremendous support for the women, particularly from our patron Susan Alberti AC who continues to be such as amazing supporter of our code,” said Roper.

“She has been an inspiration to us all.”

WA players fly out on March 4, with the first game on March 9 in Galway and the second game will take place on March 16.

For more information about the tour: