Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Greater Western Sydney Giants footballer Jess Dal Pos have visited St Columba Girls High School in Mumbai where female school students are now learning to play Aussie Rules.
The Premier said Australia’s homegrown game has increased its footprint into yet another nation, paving the way for a potential AFL match to be played in India. “It’s fantastic to see GWS and the AFL make such an impact at a girls’ school here in India,” Berejiklian said.
“This is an incredible milestone and one that may lead to a professional game of AFL being played here in the future with the GWS Giants. Building the international profile of a NSW team in a massive market like India generates interest in AFL and our State.”
GWS Giants footballer Jess Dal Pos said it was amazing to see the female high school students embrace AFL at a time when AFL Women’s is taking off in Australia. “AFL is a fast-paced team sport that requires dedication, training and a lot of team work so I’m thrilled these young girls in India have the chance to play,” said Dal Pos.
“I hope it inspires them to see that women can compete at the highest levels both on and off the field – and maybe come to Sydney to watch an AFLW match one day.”
One of the first female schools to offer Aussie Rules, St Columba Girls High School is the oldest girls’ school in Mumbai and has produced many high achieving women, including India’s first female pilot. The keen interest shown by students in recent introductory sessions has prompted plans to build up an inter-school women’s footy tournament in the future and to explore opportunities to field an Indian women’s team in the 2020 AFL International Cup.