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Aussie footys want to start 'A League of Their Own'

Aussie footys want to start 'A League of Their Own'

By John Phane, john@smexaminer.com

Simi Valley Examiner

A women's Australian Rules football team is coming soon to a stadium near you. Jayme Weaver, 41, of Simi Valley, is recently retired from the Los Angeles Police Department. She's also a member of the Orange County Bombshells, the first women's Australian Rules football team in the nation. 

HEATHER O'QUINN/SME

Jayme and Amanda Weaver of the newly-formed Orange County Bombshells at home in Simi Val

Weaver and her teammates, which includes Weaver's daughter, Amanda, who turned 14 over the weekend while playing in the match, recently journeyed to Kansas City to play in the first formal women's game America has ever seen, she said.

"The men's Aussie rules teams national finals were being held there, and we wanted to be a part of it so we could spark interest among women to develop our own league," Jayme Weaver said. "We challenged all comers."  Weaver said that the pickup team that challenged the Bombshells was comprised of friends and wives of men players and a group of girls traveled from the University of Texas to play. The Bombshells won the exhibition match 56-17. However, it wasn't as one sided as it sounds since the Bombshells only organized in August of this year, making the team only about two months old.

"It was our first official game and game," Weaver said. "We never had enough players to play a game before." The team is so new, Weaver said, that in the exhibition match the women wore the practice uniforms of their "sister" team, a men's organization called the Orange County Bombers, and the men took the uniforms back after the game.
And it's hard for them to get together and train since the Weavers live in Simi Valley and others live in the state of Minnesota, in Sacramento, in Orange County and also in the San Fernando Valley.

"The girl from Minnesota was here on a layover on a trip to Australia and that was the only chance we had to practice with her," Weaver said. "But we're going to stay together as a national team and travel around the country to get more women interested in the game."
The next real game will be played sometime around February, Weaver said. "The girls that we played against in the exhibition match are all going to go home and try to start teams. And that's what we're going to be doing out here, also. We're all going to start teams and leagues in our own towns."

Weaver said that Leigh Swansborough, her massage therapist, got her interested in the game. "Her boyfriend plays on the Bombers, and since she's Australian, it was natural for her to want to play. In fact, she sometimes plays on the Bombers", Weaver said. "I went and watched her boyfriend play and I like it, and when they decided to start a women's league, they asked if I'd like to play."

Jayme said  that Amanda, who is a freshman at Royal High School, tagged along to a practice, asked if she could kick the ball and "She just got hooked", Jayme Weaver said.
Weaver said that the next step for her is to help find women to play on teams in the Simi Valley area. Anyone interested in joining a team should e-mail to: kjh@womensfooty.com. Right now, Weaver said they're practicing once a week.

According to Weaver, Aussie Football is a cross between rugby, basketball, volleyball and soccer. There are nine players on each team playing on an oval field like a cricket oval usually called "ground" or "paddock" with four goal posts, two large, two smaller, forming three scoring areas, one large, two small, at either end of the oval. If the ball goes through a large goal it's six points, through a small goal, one point.

"It's a nonstop game in which you can run, pass or volley the ball or kick the ball, which is shaped somewhat like a football.  "You can't pass the ball like you do in football, you have to stop and hit it like a volleyball serve", Weaver said.  "As you run you have to bounce the ball every 15 meters and it's shaped like a football only a bit rounder."
It's a full contact sport, but you're not down when tackled, because if the opposing team can't wrestle the ball out of the runners hands, the referee steps in and it's a jump ball like in basketball.

However, Weaver said that women shouldn't be afraid to play because it's a contact sport. "I'm 5'3" tall and 115 pounds", she said. "My daughter is 5"2' and is smaller than I am. But we're not going to have tackling in the women's games. Women shouldn't worry about age either since I'm 41 and Amanda is 14, we accept a pretty wide age range." She also said that some players have sports backgrounds, some don't, and one was a cheerleader.

When she joined the team, Weaver said that she was looking around to get back into soccer, which she had once played, but once she was introduced to Aussie football, she decide that would be more fun. "It has so much more to offer", she said. "It's more physical than soccer, but it's also more intricate and interesting to play. It takes a lot more finesse."

Full information on Aussie football can be found on the Web at http://womensfooty.com.


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