By Jerril Rechter, VicHealth CEO
First published in Sunraysia Daily, 7 February 2017.
Friday night at Ikon Park was certainly a night to remember.
I was privileged to have been one of the 24,000-strong crowd who witnessed history at the inaugural AFL Women’s league game.
We all had high hopes for the first game’s success, but everyone was blown away by the biggest crowd for a women’s sporting event in Australian history.
While I feel for the thousands of fans who couldn’t get in, this was an overwhelming vote of support from Victorians.
CEO Gillon McLachlan deserves credit for personally explaining to the crowd that safety had to come first, and demonstrates the AFL’s commitment to the new women’s game.
Friday night was just the start, with three other fantastic games played over the weekend.
I’ve seen that 10,100 fans watched Bulldogs v Freemantle, 9250 saw Adelaide v Greater Western Sydney and 6500 cheered on Melbourne v Brisbane.
A total of more than a million people tuned in to watch the four games on television.
The support is so strong that there is already talk of moving the 2017 AFL Women’s grand final to the MCG – what an amazing achievement for everyone – the men and women – who has worked so hard to get this league off the ground.
We want to get tens of thousands of Victorian women and girls more active.
Jerril Rechter is CEO of VicHealth