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Premiership-winner Starcevich celebrates women's AFL

ON THE MARK: AFL Queensland (AFLQ) Female High Performance Coach and former Collingwood premiership player and Brisbane Lion Craig Starcevich was in town to help promote women’s AFL.
ON THE MARK: AFL Queensland (AFLQ) Female High Performance Coach and former Collingwood premiership player and Brisbane Lion Craig Starcevich was in town to help promote women’s AFL. Matthew Mcinerney

FORMER premiership-winning AFL player Craig Starcevich knows the women's game better than most.

The AFL Queensland (AFLQ) female high performance coach was in Hervey Bay on Monday to address the Fraser Coast Tourism Forum on the eve on International Women's Day.

Starcevich, who coached Western Bulldogs' women's side in last year's exhibition games, said his main goal was to discuss the national women's league, the first national female AFL competition which is set to launch next year.

"It's something that's pegged for this time next year and I'll talk about where Queensland's placed and my role in that," he said before the forum.

Starcevich visited Kawangun School, Fraser Coast Anglican College and Urangan High yesterday, and met with fans at Sportfirst.

During the school visits he showed students a highlight package from last year's televised exhibition game, which he said was the first step in attracting more attention to the competition.

"The boys and girls were equally stunned as to the high quality," he said.

"It beat one of those AFL games (ratings-wise) comfortably that weekend.

"Some say there's a novelty factor but we think it's watchable and they'll come back to watch it.

"That's half the battle, getting those unfamiliar with girls playing AFL to watch what goes on. Once they see that they realise it's something that presents well, is marketable and is something they can get excited about."

Starcevich will again coach the Bulldogs' women in an exhibition game later this year, but said he was unsure of what his coaching future held.

That is not necessarily a bad thing for the 48-year-old, who said the "real stuff will start" once the national competition launches.

"I will have the same role this year but that's the precursor to going to a fully-fledged eight-team comp," he said.

"The concept of those exhibition games will fall by the wayside and the real stuff will start.

"I think we all like to stay involved in some capacity. Now it's at the exciting end it'd be good to be around it but the players have the most to gain as they haven't had the pathway available to them before."

Dates to remember

April 16: Brisbane Lions v Gold Coast Suns

The women's Q Clash will follow the men's round four AFL game at the Gabba.

May 22: Queensland v Melbourne at the MCG

It could be the last time a state side will play, as either the Lions or Suns will provide the sole Sunshine State team in the eight-team national competition.

Topics:  fraser coast, international women's day, women's afl



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