By Rebecca Peppiatt
GRIDIRON, otherwise known as American football, isn’t a sport you’d likely associate with the fairer sex.
But Mundaring coach Mike Willems is trying to change all that with Western Australia’s first women-only club recently launched in Chidlow.
It’s a sport that is gaining traction all over the country for both sexes, with nine clubs now operating in WA.
For Mr Willems though, former coach of the women’s team at the Swan City Titans and former president of the Mundaring Soccer Club, it is all about the ladies.
“I’m a massive advocate for women in sport,” he said.
“I don’t know if it was the way I was brought up, but I was always taught to be very respectful of women and they’re so much more interesting to coach.
“Ladies are much more logical and will actually think about it and want to know why they’re doing it.”
Mr Willems noticed that most sporting clubs start off with a men’s and junior’s side, then add a women’s side later on.
In a bid to champion more females in sport, he decided to kick off the Hills Valkyries Gridiron Club with a women’s side and will look at adding a men’s and junior’s team later down the track.
The former gridiron player said he was keen to “break the mould” and the opportunity for women in the Hills to have a go at something different has been massively supported and they’ve even secured a sponsor in Chris Van Vuuren from Perth company Luxworks.
“We’ve got players from 15 to 55,” he said.
“I don’t care what size you are or what fitness level.
“I just ask that you commit to the team and I will show you the rest.”
Caitlyn Willems got sucked into the game by her coach dad and was instantly hooked.
“It’s a good release of anger,” she laughed.
“Once you do it, it’s just really, really fun and it’s a good release of energy.”
The social aspect of the game has been a draw card for many of the women involved.
“Everyone’s really friendly and everyone wants to be there because it’s such an obscure sport,” said Ms Willems.
“Everyone plays netball or AFL and this is just something different.”
The club is looking for new players.
Anyone interested can call Mike on 0414 941 265.