Tanunda Football Club's next generation of stars

The names Schild, Smart and Roehr are well known around the Tanunda Football Club, but their legacies will take a different turn when the inaugural Barossa, Light and Gawler Female Football Competition kicks off next month.

Pies stalwarts Mick Schild, Bob Smart and Jamie Roehr will go from stars to number one fans when their daughters Sydney, 12, Georgie, 13, and Chloe, 15, pull on the black and white for the first round of the recently-formed competition on Sunday, July 2.

Chloe spent her childhood kicking the football around with her dad Jamie and brother James, 13, and decided she would give up netball to play for the Pies.

However, her dreams took a hit when she was told by Tanunda she could not play with the boys beyond under 11s.

“She was told she could play under 11s, but that was it, so there was no real pathway for her,” Jamie said.

“But that didn’t deter her – she was really keen to play.”

Also a promising basketballer, Chloe is playing in her first season of football with the boys at Para Hills, and Jamie said she has loved every minute of it.

“She’s always had an interest in football, but there was no real avenue because women’s football was only a new thing,” he said.

“Women’s AFL (AFLW) has been the catalyst – its allowed the girls to take it more seriously, and it was the jolt for (Chloe) to go and play.

“Girls have always been a bit disadvantaged, but now the gates have opened it’s limitless; if she has the opportunity she’d definitely like to pursue (football) as a career.

“She’s taken to it like a duck to water – she loves the aggression and physicality, and she’s really picked it up."

Chloe said the female competition would certainly be different to playing with the boys, but admitted she was impressed with the skill level.

“(The competition) should be good – it’ll be a lot different to playing at Para Hills,” she said.

“It’s pretty good considering half of the girls haven’t played before.”

Jamie admitted at first he assumed his daughter would play netball and his son would play football, but said now he would love to see how far Chloe can go with her new sport.

“Now I’m equally as keen for her to pursue footy as a sport too,” he said.

“I’d never envisioned Tanunda having a girls side, but the speed in which everything came to fruition was great, it’s very exciting.”

Sydney never saw her dad play, but she’s heard the stories and between Mick and her brothers Hugo, 12, and Angus, 15, guiding her along, the promising netballer is keen to give football a crack.

"I think I’ve picked it up well – I’m so looking forward to (the competition),” she said.

“It’s pretty cool (playing for Tanunda) because my dad won two grand finals with them and now I get to follow in his footsteps.”

An under 15 and 17s premiership player in 1986 and 1987, Mick said he looked forward to seeing his daughter continuing the Schild’s success with the Pies.

“It’d be nice to see them in a grand final,” he said.

“I think she’s up there, it’s good to see them out there having a kick and a catch.”

Netball will always be Georgie’s first love, but her football debut will be even more special, as she shares the famous 15 worn by her dad.

“I’m enjoying learning all the skills – it’s cool because I’ve got the same number,” she said.

“It’s a bit tough because I love my netball, but I wanted to play both.”

It may be Georgie’s first time chasing the Burley, but Bob said the Smart bloodlines should help her along.

“I don’t know if she remembers watching me play, but footy and netball have always been part of our family,” he said.

“We have squillions of footballs around the house so they (Georgie, her sister Annabel, 19, and brother Hugh, 16) were always throwing, kicking and hitting balls around.”

Bob said the BLG female competition had given him a chance to spend more time with his daughter.

“I was more than happy for her to play – I love footy and it’s a great opportunity for me to get involved with George,” he said.

“My son got to have a crack (at football), now so can George and she’s happy to see where it goes.”

The season runs from July 2 to August 20 – teams of 12 will play each other twice, while games will be played on a modified sized field with modified rules to suit.

Girls aged between 12 and 17 interested in playing football can contact BLG Female Football Committee chairperson Natalie Seaman on 0438 178 989 or email nataliejoy68@hotmail.com for details of their local club contact.

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