Culture

The First Ever AFLW Pride Game Made History In More Ways Than One

The AFLW keeps kicking goals.

AFLW Pride Game

When the final siren sounded at Whitten Oval on Friday night, history had been made in more ways than one.

The match between Carlton and the Western Bulldogs marked the first ever AFLW pride game. Almost 9000 fans rocked up to the stadium in Melbourne’s west, many of them carrying rainbow flags or wearing pride-themed football merchandise. Both teams wore special jumpers for the occasion and ran out onto the ground through a joint banner celebrating the Yes vote in the marriage equality survey.

Even the umpires got in on the action.

The men’s competition introduced a pride game in 2016, but in some ways this match might have been more significant. While there are currently no openly gay players playing in the AFL, there are a number of lesbian players in the AFLW, including arguably the league’s best player in Adelaide captain Erin Phillips.

When the AFLW pride game was announced earlier this month, Bulldogs defender Hannah Scott said it meant a lot to both her and her partner.

“There’s so many people out there that struggle through this every single day and it effects not just the person, but the family, the friend, it effects everything,” she said.

The sentiment was echoed by Carlton captain Brianna Davey.

“Obviously I’m a gay person myself,” she said. “We have the ability to make a difference, make a change and to really make sure people feel included and belong and I think that’s the point.”

But while both clubs were proud to be involved in the game, only one team came away smiling. In the end, the Bulldogs crushed the Blues by 73 points, with a final score of 86 to 13. It was the largest score ever recorded in the AFLW, as well as the largest winning margin.

Not only that, but Bulldogs forward Brooke Lochland kicked a massive seven snags, smashing the record for the most goals kicked by an AFLW player in a single game.

The previous record was four.

Still, I’m not sure she celebrated any of her goals as hard as she did this one that turned out not to be a goal at all.

Feature image via Western Bulldogs AFLW/Twitter