February 24, 2023

Article at Swan Districts Football Club

South West Program crucial to WAFLW growth

Not only is the Swan Districts Football Club working hard on developing female footballers in the metro area, but wants to build something special out of Bunbury in the South West hub with coach Adam Dancey calling on help to stop the zone being raided.

Swan Districts is putting in some significant resources to developing the South West Program out of Bunbury to work hand in hand with the WAFLW program to not only create that pathway for players from the region, but also strengthen the ties between the club and the area.

That isn’t just for players either and Swans have welcomed Max Jetta into the coaching staff for the WAFLW team for the 2023 season where he will work closely with Dancey along with continuing to build that bond between Swan Districts and players in the Bunbury and South West zone.

"We did make a significant amount of change in our coaching staff this year which we're excited about," Dancey said.

"Obviously we brought in Max Jetta who runs our Bunbury hub and will have a game day role as well, which is massive for us.

"Max has got a big following and his values and morals are top class. We're really lucky to have him involved in the program."

Swan Districts is putting in great effort, energy and resources into creating the strongest female football program possible and that includes building a strong connection with the South West zone, of which Bunbury makes up the biggest part.

Dancey is looking forward to continuing to build on that but doesn’t want it to continue to be allowed to be raided by rival clubs at the same time.

"I think it's a really important area. Obviously it's our zone and we should be sourcing from it and the South West Football League is a strong competition especially for female talent," he said.

"That can be seen from the fact that other football clubs have targeted the South West this year to recruit players.

"The biggest thing now is with the investment we are trying to make in that area is that the footy commission needs to get on board and start protecting our players in our zone, and our investment in the area from a female athlete perspective. They need to stop this happening.

"I mean there's mechanisms in play within the male programs that stop clubs just going into an area and ransacking your talent.

"At the moment, South Fremantle has attacked everything and all is fair in love and war, but at the same time when you put time and effort into developing a player, players shouldn’t that easily be able to transfer between clubs just for a better offer.

The WAFLW competition is expected to continue to grow with a salary cap likely to come into place in 2024. What Dancey doesn’t want to see is that mean that those with the most money who can make the bigger offers can then lure players from rival club's zones.

That's where the South West zone for Swan Districts becomes so crucial and why the club wants to make it such a success to provide that pathway for players from the area to play in black-and-white, not for rival clubs.

"Especially when the money comes into WAFLW next year and players start to get paid, as soon as money gets involved with development coaches, accommodations and covering expenses, in my opinion the commission has to jump on top of this," Dancey said.

"They should say that a club can't reimburse anyone from Bunbury because that's in our zone, but you should be able to reimburse anyone from your zone. But if you go and recruit from another club's zone you should be restricted to how much you can pay them.

"For example, Bunbury is our zone so we should be allowed to reimburse any cost or anything for players from there, but anybody we recruit outside than that you can't give them any more than a Bunbury trip. Otherwise all we see is the highest bidder winning and footy's not supposed to be an auction, and it shouldn’t work that way with the girls."