Home' LOTL : April 2010 Contents 26 Lesbians On The Loose Magazine • lotl.com
Lifestyle Opinion / Profile / Travel / Food / Stars
"I remember the first game
I played, I marked (caught)
a ball, right in front of
the goals, right in front, and then
handballed it through the sticks and
cheered. But you have to kick it or it
doesn't count... everyone was really
Krissie Steen has come a long way
since her first experience with AFL.
She played for three seasons before
a knee injury forced her off the field
and into a coaching position with the
Sydney University Bombers.
While her love of the game has
been a constant throughout, the lesbi-
an coach had no interest in the sport
when she originally signed up. "There
was a chick that I really fancied and
I went round to her house after she'd
been playing and they needed new
players. I immediately volunteered.
It had nothing to do with the game
She ended up falling for footy rath-
er than the girl, and is now hoping to
lead her team to victory in this year's
Sydney Women's Australian Football
League. The 36 year old has already
enlisted the help of Swans Judo coach
Warren Rosser, among others, as the
Bombers make a bid for the title.
Played in an oval, with 18 a side, the
full contact sport has become increas-
ingly popular with women. America
and Canada have their own league
and at a local level SWAFL is now in
its eleventh year with ten teams set to
compete for grand final glory.
While Steen may want a win for the
Bombers, there will be at least one
woman standing in her way: all-Aus-
tralian ruck and Newtown Breaka-
ways captain Natalie Redford. As well
as being last year's champions, the
Breakaways are almost entirely made
up of gay women. "We joke because
we have the token straight girl, to feel
like we're getting an even balance,"
Redford says, adding that Newtown
was never meant to be an exclusively
But gay women are attracted to the
game, and she estimates around half
the players in the league are lesbians.
While the 29 year old believes they're
drawn to the free flowing speed and
intensity of AFL, Steen is a little
blunter in her assessment of why so
many dykes turn to footy. "There are
18 girls on each side, so 36 girls, for
an hour and 20 minutes, all rolling
around on top of each other. Why do
you think it's so popular?"
"It is like an episode of the L Wo rd,
with Newtown," Redford concedes,
"it's never a dull moment, there's quite
a bit of off-field fun, but ultimately
it's all about the football." However,
she adds, playing the sport is a great
way for couples to bond in modern
society. "Our lifestyles are so hectic
and busy - it's fantastic if you can find
an outlet with your partner."
It's something that Steen has put
into practice - she coaches while her
girlfriend plays, saying the sport gives
them time together and time with
friends. While both player and coach
are hoping to up the standard of
women's footy this season, they agree
the game is readily accessible to first
timers. Training normally takes place
two or three times a week, and both
Redford and Steen say most players
pick up the basics within a couple
of months. The variety of positions
mean there's a place for everyone, and
while the full contact element of the
game makes some newcomers ner v-
ous, it's a barrier Redford says is soon
"Once you get one hit, you think
you'll be shaken up by it, but when it
happens and you're on the ground you
just think, 'Right, game on.'"
The season kicks off with the Michelle
Daley Charity Shield Match on March 27.
For more information visit
Nicky Bryson learns ball sports aren't just for the boys.
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