In late 2017, the news that MLC was joining forces with the Old Scotch Football Club
to form a women’s team, the Old Scotch Stars, was met with much excitement and enthusiasm in the MLC community.
The Stars team was officially launched at the Old Scotch Football Club Season Launch Breakfast, held at Leonda this morning. MLC’s involvement in the team is clearly evident, from the large MLC star on the team jumper to the large proportion of the team being made up of Old Collegians!
We are delighted that Ryan Duke, MLC’s Senior AFL GSV coach since 2011, is the team’s inaugural coach. Furthermore, four of the six MLC school football coaches are also playing for the Stars, highlighting a clear pathway for current students to continue their football after Year 12.
The Launch Breakfast displayed great community and camaraderie between the existing Old Scotch Football Club and the new women’s team. Susan Alberti, OSFC’s number one ticket holder and high-profile campaigner of the AFLW, also spoke about the rapid growth of the women’s game. Other notable speakers included Hawthorn President Jeff Kennett, AFL broadcaster Nat Edwards, Hawthorn premiership player Campbell Brown and current St Kilda footballer Jack Billings.
Jess Anderson (Class of 2015), currently playing at the Western Bulldogs in the AFLW, also spoke about the rise of the game and how she became a player in the AFLW's inaugural season.
Anne Wallington, Head of Senior School, officially launched the team with some thought-provoking comments about how the football landscape is changing for women and girls:
Change has come and there is no turning back. Women have moved from making the run-through banners to running through them. They’ve moved into the club rooms in the shape of physios, trainers, runners and assistants, joined the commentary panels on television and radio and now, finally, are part of the big league of AFLW – as players, umpires and coaches.
Kellie Underwood, ABC football commentator, said that after 10 years calling footy for the ABC, there was a genuine difference in the game's progress towards gender equality, a change she first noticed at the launch of the inaugural women's league. She said that feeling continued throughout the men's season, changing the culture around football and, she believes, our attitude towards women, for the better.
So, what does this mean for women in 21st century Australia? I think it means much more than girls playing a boys game. It’s about changing the game, changing the culture and making it far more inclusive, more about skill, resilience and determination than gender.
MLC’s partnership with Old Scotch provides MLC with a great opportunity to learn and to improve playing and coaching skills. And I’m sure that Old Scotch will be able to learn from us, too. Several of the Old Scotch Stars players are connected to MLC as alumnae and current students, and this connection highlights the commitment of the MLC student body, both former and current, to making this partnership successful. … Today’s launch is a momentous occasion for MLC and for the Old Scotch Football Club.
Best of luck as the team take on Old Brighton in Round 1 this Saturday!