The national AFL participation census has been released today, revealing overall growth in participation with monumental growth in female football across the country.

Tasmania’s participation news was also pleasing with an overall 3.8% growth in 2017. The total number of Tasmanians now playing football has reached a new high of 41,667.

Three areas of growth were particularly encouraging for the state: Auskick, Schools and Female football.

Auskick has seen a 25% rise from 2016, which is an additional 519 boys and girls introduced to the sport. School programs have grown significantly with an increase from 32% to 68% of Tasmanian schools now engaging in a minimum four-week football program.

AFL Tasmania CEO Rob Auld explained that grassroots participation is a key strategic focus for the organisation and today’s results, are a positive milestone in a longer participation journey for Tasmanian football.

“The data validates our current focus on Auskick and Schools to increase the number of boys and girls coming into football each year,” Auld explained.

“The grassroots of the game is vital for the future of Tasmanian football, we have to stay focused on rebuilding the base to ensure the game is strong in years to come.  Over time the uplift will flow into Senior football however we have to kick start the base-line again.”

“We set some lofty targets at the start of the year with a renewed focus on the Auskick and Schools programs. Both programs have been revamped and we have seen pleasing in-roads with the results but the hard work will continue in grassroots participation.

“Our team has worked really hard to drive participation in Auskick and schools but significant credit also should go to the thousands of volunteers in all of our clubs running Auskick centres.”

The rapid rise in female football participation has again exceeded all expectations, with figures showing a further 28% participation growth on last year.  With 62 teams for women and girls across all regions of the state, up from just six teams, only three years ago.

“Our team have also done a terrific job in attracting female footballers with exciting initiatives such as supporting new regional women’s competitions and all girl Auskick centres.

“The AFLW has captured the imagination of girls and women across the country and without question, it has inspired new players to our game, locally and this will only blossom further with the advent of the Tassie Kangaroos.

Community football again had a large representation of the state’s footballers with 12,748 weekly participants in club football at all levels – underpinned by the growth in three new regional female competitions in the TWL North, TWL North West and SFLW competitions.

“Community football continues to be the heartbeat of football in the state and I applaud the incredible amount of hard work all community competitions are doing in driving football in their regions, their efforts are outstanding” Auld said.

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KEY STATS

OVERALL TASMANIAN PARTICIPATION GROWTH – 3.8% 
(41,667 PARTICIPANTS IN TASMANIA)

AUSKICK GROWTH – 25% 
(^519 NEW BOYS AND GIRLS)

SCHOOL PROGRAM GROWTH – 36% 
(FROM 32% TO 68%)

FEMALE FOOTBALL GROWTH – 28% 
(FROM SIX TEAMS TO 62 TEAMS IN JUST THREE YEARS)