Women's football roars to life during Port Fairy Winter Weekends

Signing: Samantha Lane.
Signing: Samantha Lane.

Winter Weekends in Port Fairy roared to life at the weekend with literary events the focus of activities.

Television presenter and journalist Samantha Lane headlined the weekend speaking about women’s football on Sunday.

On Saturday, the weekend warmed up with the Tales of Fae and Folklore by the Campfire event at Wishart Gallery which journeyed to a bygone world of witches and curses, warrior girls and clever boys who battle the odds and win.

Ms Lane, who was joined by south-west women’s footy coach and ambassador Alicia Drew for a conversation about the rise of women’s football, also spoke about her new book Roar which tells the stories of some of the AFL women’s league’s most exciting stars.

Tales of folklore: Writer and director Gabby Steel with Wilson Dumesny, 7, Lawson Dumesny, 9 and Devon Dumesny, 5. Pictures: Christine Ansorge

Tales of folklore: Writer and director Gabby Steel with Wilson Dumesny, 7, Lawson Dumesny, 9 and Devon Dumesny, 5. Pictures: Christine Ansorge

“It was a book that just had to be written,” she said.

“It’s the book I essentially left my day job to write.” 

Ms Lane said she had just six months to write the book so it could be released in time for the start of the second AFLW season.

“It totally ran my life. I was getting up at 5am and doing blocks of writing throughout every single day,” she said.

Ms Lane said she was happy with the reception the book had received since its release in February.

“People have been quite moved by some of the stories,” she said.

“Even in my wildest imagination or imaginings, I could not have scripted some of the true stories that are written in this book.”

Ms Lane said women had been playing organised football for more 100 years. 

“It didn’t fall out of a tree last year,” she said.

“It’s an inconvenient truth that it came out of decades and decades of being ignored, of struggle, of falling on deaf ears, of being the poor cousin of the AFL as we once knew it, of being ostracised.

“What the AFLW means for women’s football is that it legitimises their existence and their toils over the years, and the fact that they have the right to be footy legends, sporting legends and leaders.

“I love the spectacle of the game.

“It’s a 360-degree game and there’s nothing like it in the world.

“It’s thrilling, the skill and the athleticism.”

She said the AFLW players had been like a gust of fresh air, creating a freedom to talk about everything from their day jobs to their backgrounds and issues around sexuality.