If the current plans for a February start to the AFL women's national league hold true, there are only 11 months until the competition gets underway.
15 Mar 2016 - 11:45 AM  UPDATED 15 Mar 2016 - 11:45 AM

With all the media's attention on the proposed league and its female talent search, it's very easy for the football loving public to miss where the real football revolution is happening: at the grassroots level.

And the revolution has been a long time coming.

We're currently experiencing an explosion of new competitions and clubs has happened around the country.

This year alone, clubs such as Mount Barker in South Australia, Ipswich in Queensland and Singleton in New South Wales will be fielding their first ever senior women's teams.

One of the new female teams is the Tigers from Kingborough who will be making their debut this year in the Tasmanian Women's League.

The state-wide competition began with just two clubs in 2007 and is looking to expand to ensure Tassie female footy doesn't slip too far behind the other developing states.

A woman who has not only been there from the start but also looking to play a key role in the competition's future, is former Clarence captain and newly appointed Tigers coach, Cara Brookes.

"I had a few conversations with Rodney (Herweynen), vice-president of the Tigers in previous years, and they were really keen to get a team but it just hadn't happened," Brookes explained.

"I had a year off of footy and was ready to get back into the game, [but] wasn't sure if I wanted to get back into junior coaching or senior.

"I was actually approached by Marcus Davis, the high performance coach at the Tigers, to come over and have a chat about a women's team, and from there decided to take on the coaching role."

At an established club, the transition to a new coach is normally smooth. Although there may be a large amount of player turnovers depending on the circumstances, there's still a core to work with, along with a handful of new recruits a new coach may bring in.

However, not only does a full squad have to be recruited at a new club or team, support staff also have to be found.

"It's a huge challenge and particularly in Tassie, we're still in a position where the league is developing," the inaugural Tigers women's coach said.

"A lot of women still don't know the sport exists, so we're still getting the word out there and building the sport.

"Getting a new team up and running is challenging, but we're getting new players turning up each and every week; we're staying positive and trying to get the word out the best we can to get women and girls in.

"Once we get the players on board, hopefully family and friends will step up and assist with the other roles that need filling."

There are many roles that the Tigers and other new teams will have to fill, from assistant coaches to runners, trainers to water carriers, team managers to time keepers, and in some cases even goal and boundary umpires.

For those volunteers that help the new teams, Brookes assures them that although they might not see them bag a premiership flag straight away, the first year is the most important stepping stepping stone on that path to victory.

"We're going for a pretty relaxed atmosphere to get them loving the sport," Brookes said.

"We want to do the basics, get some really good skills and not so much focus on the fitness side of things."

Obviously we'd like to win some games, but that comes with it (experience) and we'll take the first step with getting a team up and running."

Grassroots women's clubs are always looking for volunteers; if you'd like to get involved in the fastest-growing female sport in the country, contact your local club today!

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