Former AFLW footballer and Kilmore local Jess Kennedy, second from left, takes girls from the Kilmore Junior Football Club through their paces at a training session last month.

By Colin MacGillivray

KILMORE Junior Football Club’s young female footballers learned from one of the town’s best at a special training session last month.

Jess Kennedy, a former Carlton AFLW player and Assumption College student, took the club’s under-12, under-14 and under-16 girls through their paces in a pre-season training session.

Kennedy said it was heartening to see so many young girls taking up the sport.

“The girls were good. They were all switched on and keen to learn, which is unreal. They’ve got some really good talent there,” she said.

“With the under-12s we were going through the basics of trying to watch the footy as often as they possibly could. With the older girls there was a bit more structure and I joined in a little bit. It was good to see girls in the area getting involved.

“I feel pretty passionate about exercise at all levels, so to see the girls running around was awesome.”
Kennedy said elite women’s football would continue to grow and improve as junior talent pathways became firmly established.

“I played netball and I went to Assumption and played softball there as well. When I went through there wouldn’t have been too many girls playing [football] after their Auskick years. I joined a football club in my second year of uni,” she said.

“I was a kid who would have played any sport given the opportunity, so I’m pretty envious of the opportunities that girls have now, but incredibly grateful for where we’re at.

“For them to not have to miss any footy from when they first start playing to going through to a senior level means that their development is never impeded. That ultimately means women’s footy as a whole grows and the calibre of players and teams continues to improve.”

Kilmore under-14 and under-16 girls coach Andrew Stewart said his players were thrilled to learn from a former AFLW player who also captained Richmond in its inaugural VFLW season in 2019 and won the club’s best and fairest.

“She was really good. It was probably the best training night we’ve had just with her being here,” he said.

“The girls were up, the talk was up and they were putting in the effort to do the things they don’t normally do, which was really good.

“They’re getting better and better, and that’s what they’re here for – to have fun and improve their skills generally.

“They’re all loving it. They all turn up Mondays and Wednesdays and they all encourage each other.”

Stewart said the club was still on the lookout for girls to join its under-14 and under-16 age groups.

People can call Jenni Peggy on 0424 205 932 for more information.