By Alyce Collett
With somewhat of a women’s football revolution taking place over the past few years, it has opened up opportunities for women who never thought they would ever get the chance.
Two of these women are Belgrave teammates Lisa Handyside and Meagan Clarke, a pair of mums who were initially sceptical about playing football but have both fought through those initial skepticisms and are enjoying their footy.
Lisa’s football journey began with participation in a fundraiser last year called the Belly-Up Cup.
This was a fundraiser in July last year and was a football match between mums from Belgrave FC and Upwey-Tecoma FC to raise money for a local mum to help her with her medical bills.
For Lisa it was ‘just a lot of fun’ but also ‘it was a lot of hard work’, and it inspired the idea of her wanting to play football. This led to her speaking to Belgrave about getting a women’s team started, but her initial idea was not a open age team, but a Masters team, similar to men’s veterans football.
There was already a seed being planted by the netballers to start a women’s team. Handyside then went along to the information session but was a little bit apprehensive but was reassured and told it was an open age team with no limits.
Meagan is a Ruck/Full Forward who always wanted to play footy but never had a feasible opportunity to do so. She had an opportunity to play when she was younger, but the travel requirements meant that it was just not possible for her to play.
She says the women of today don’t know how good they’ve got it.
“These girls today don’t know the opportunity that they’ve got.”
She came to Belgrave because it was close but knew no one when she started.
Both ladies had different reasons as to why they were initially sceptical about playing.
Lisa’s reasoning was around fitness, and not wanting to let the team down. She was also worried about trying to fit another commitment into her already busy schedule, but thankfully for all those concerned she has found it all manageable.
Meagan’s reasoning was to do with what may happen if something happened to her.
“When you become a mum you get a conscious, that if something happens to you, like if you get injured, how are you going to go about your business, daily needs for your daughter?”
“How are you going to go to work? How are you going to bring an income into the house?”
Meagan has one daughter, while Lisa has three children, two sons and a daughter.
Meagan’s daughter is four and is her Mum’s biggest fan.
“ I’ve created a monster because she comes every game and she wants to be on the field with me,”
“She cannot wait to play Auskick.’’
Before she was a player, Lisa was involved in helping her children to play. She has son that is 21 who used to play football but no longer does, a son in the under 14s at Belgrave and a daughter who’s just started in the under 10s.
Every year she has taken on a role to help out the team – initially she was the trainer for a few years, then runner and this year she has put her hand up to do some assistant coaching, showcasing how far she’s come, from charity games to coaching manuals.