Eight-time Central District premiership player and former captain at the Bulldogs Matthew Slade will be a key part of SANFL women’s football history tonight.
The Gawler Central export and the most decorated footballer from the township will coach the North Adelaide side in the first SANFL Women’s match at The Parade tonight, as the Roosters take on Norwood in the inaugural match.
He will be surrounded by premiership success in the coach box, as his assistants are seven-time Bulldogs defender South Gawler’s Yves Sibenaler and another captain at the Ponderosa, five-time flag winning wingman and Jack Oatey medallist Nathan Steinberner.
Slade said the SANFL women’s league program fit into his commitments.
“My involvement in footy is a little restricted,” Slade said.
“This competition started its training program in mid-January and goes through to April.
“And I’m running the show.
“Also having access to mates like Yves and Steiny was handy.
“From my perspective, whether its men’s or women’s football, junior or senior teams, the game itself doesn’t change.
“I did tread pretty lightly early on, and the girls have responded well.
“There is certainly a larger diversity of skills and fitness levels to deal with.
“Conversely the girls want more information, than I had previously found coaching mates.
“I’ve also seen strong leadership in the women’s game.
“This group of girls are aware of the historical aspect of today’s game, but I won’t be mentioning that in my pre-game address as they have heard plenty of that over the journey.”
Slade also noted the support he received from North Adelaide senior men’s coach Josh Carr.
He mentioned that among the talents to watchwere the pair of 18-year-olds Chloe Sheer from Gawler and Ashley Woodlands.
North Adelaide take on Norwood at 6pm tonight, while in the 8.10pm fixture, Glenelg face off against West Adelaide.
Players with a local connection in the Roosters outfit include Kyesha Christensen, Paige Allan, Britt Perry and Katelyn Rosenzweig (emergency).