The UTS Shamrocks Australian Football Club, affectionately known as the “Shammies”, made their mark on the North Coast over the weekend at the inaugural Byron Bay AFL 9s Invitational tournament (11 & 12 October 2014), on the back of finals berth in AFL Sydney. The team not only represented the Club that they belong to, UTS AFC, but their affiliated university, University of Technology, Sydney, and the state as the only Club from AFL Sydney and the sole women’s team from New South Wales to compete in the two-day competition.
The Shamrocks were accepted to compete at the Invitational after submitting a nomination to play, on the basis that the tournament coincided with the team’s annual end of season footy trip. A 25 strong cohort travelled to and from Byron Bay in what may prove the first of many an annual pilgrimage for Byron 9s. Club president Simone Faulkner, who played at the Invitational, explained that “because the competition was organised so well I wouldn’t hesitate in sending a team there every year”.
Team Captain, Chereta Daylight agreed that the Invitational was “extremely well organised, with lots of great food, drinks and entertainment” catering to players, supporters and spectators alike. Daylight added, “with the success of this year’s tournament, the Club looks forward to participating again next year, hopefully with twice as many teams wanting to be involved in 2015”.
The UTS Shamrocks thoroughly enjoyed their time competing in the tournament, owing to the fantastic host location and superb facilities at the Byron Bay Regional Arts & Sporting Complex.
SWAFL v QWAFL
Both sides gained recognition over the weekend for embodying the spirit of the game with girls actively socialising off the field and swapping jumpers on-field. The two sides put on a brilliant display of contested footy in the heat, despite forging friendships the day before.
The Queensland side, “The Coops” are derived from 3 different QWAFL Clubs and had never played before as a single team. The talent of the QWAFL ladies was evident but the Shamrocks were serious contenders in the “state of origin” clash, in a match that proved to be a bit of an arm wrestle. Both sides were not shy of the run and-carry style of football but the wind conditions dictated kicking accuracy for much of the game.
The Coops players Emer Ehr and Nikki Wallace reiterated a sentiment amongst the Queensland group, that they had a great time playing against the evenly matched Shamrocks as well as having had the opportunity to socialise in the host town the night before.
Best Uniform Award
The Shammies, in their unmistakable green, black and white singlets, took out the inaugural “Best Uniform” Award at the Invitational that was sponsored by BLK. This year’s design looked to combine the new on field strip of the brother Club to the Shamrocks, the UTS Bats, with Shamrocks branding. It was important for the girls to represent the Club, UTS AFC, back at home and to acknowledge the roots of the 9s team playing in Byron Bay. Uniform designer Jules Thai wanted to “encapsulate the Byron Bay vibe, echoing the official logo of the Byron 9s Invitational” on the front of the singlets.
The Shamrocks were excited to be able to take advantage of a new light-weight and breathable material developed by BLK that proved to be perfect for the sport of AFL 9s, played through Spring and Summer.