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AFLW | Blazing a trail for the girls of tomorrow

Grant | The AFLW family connection Chris Grant and Katie Brennan spoke with Bob on this weeks podcast about the upcoming AFLW family connection with father daughter opportunities

When the Western Bulldogs’ first AFLW premiership flag is hoisted up the flagpole at VU Whitten Oval this Saturday night, it will mean many things to the Club’s Director of Football and Hall of Fame Legend, Chris Grant.

It will be a celebration of a remarkable 2018 season when the Bulldogs overcame great odds to secure their first ever flag.

It will be a time to reflect on the hard work of those with the vision to make the Bulldogs’ women’s team a reality, including himself, as a director on the board when that vision was achieved.

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And it will be a realisation that his own flesh and blood, daughter Isabella, may soon get to play the game she loves at the elite level - an idea which for a long time was simply not an option to pursue.

Thankfully, a lot has changed in the women’s game over the last decade.

“When ‘Bel’ was born just over 17 years ago, one of the first things that a lot of people said to me was congratulations, but oh, she’s not a son; linking straight to footy,” Grant said this week on a special edition Western Bulldogs podcast.

“While it wasn’t out of disrespect, it was probably right.  If she was going to find her way in sport, it was probably going to be in another game.

“What has been incredible is the transformation of Bel as a young teenage girl.  When Katie and the girls started playing those exhibition games it was like wow, this might actually happen.

“As the years went on and the girls played more of the exhibition games, it became something that the girls might be able to participate in on an ongoing basis, not just once or twice a year.

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“Bel had never played junior football…even though she wanted to.  But football was always her passion.  For the first 10 years of her life it was ‘I love footy but I’m never going to get to play it at that level’.  She played basketball.

“When the AFLW competition was finally announced as a true competition, she flipped from basketball within a week.

“It’s been amazing to see her have the opportunity.  Whether she ever gets there, it remains to be seen.  But that’s not really the point.  The inspiration in watching KB and Ellie and the girls out there is enough for her.”

The Bulldogs will unfurl their 2018 premiership flag at a special ceremony before the Round 2 clash with the Geelong Cats at VU Whitten Oval this Saturday, February 9, from 6.25pm.