Great Southern Football League Women's season launch, with one game played on Kangaroo Island

A footy match on Kangaroo Island to bolster morale and raise awareness for mental health will launch the Great Southern Football League Women's (GSFLW) competition for 2020.

Yankalilla and Goolwa/Port Elliot's open teams will face off at Dudley United Oval on Saturday, March 14 as the opening game of the season.

According to GSFLW's Andrew Batten, the game was first mooted by Yankalilla's Craig Wilson, as a few of their players travel from Kangaroo Island each weekend to play for the Tigers.

"Craig wanted to promote women's football on the island by having a trial game, he got in touch with the league hierarchy to see if it would be possible to hold this game on the island," Mr Batten said.

"After the idea was raised, Andy Coulter, the Goolwa/Port Elliot open women coach got on board along with all the Magpie women, who were really keen, and it looked like the ball was rolling and it would be game on."

But this was before the devastating bushfires on Kangaroo Island, and as a result the plans were paused.

Then SANFL community football league zone coordinators Courtney Roberts and Craig Kempe met with GSFL president Terry Corcoran and decided to play the game in conjunction with a come and try/Auskick week SANFL was holding in the lead up to the weekend of round one of GSFLW 2020.

"It was also thought that this would also provide an opportunity to, in some way, assist the people on the island to have a diversion from the tragedy of the fires," Mr Batten said.

A trophy has been created for the winner of the game, now dubbed the Kangaroo Island Challenge Cup, and it is hoped it will become an annual event.

Mental health has been a focus in the Kangaroo Island community post-bushfires, and the SANFL and GSFLW has partnered with mental health charity Breakthrough Foundation through staff Jade Spicer and Sam Elliott to raise awareness.

The players will wear purple boot laces and purple and blue armbands as part of the partnership.

The GSFLW players will travel on the Sealink ferry to the island early on Saturday morning and will help with the SANFL programs before and after the game by running football clinics with the children.

The siren will sound at 12noon to mark the start of the 2020 GSFLW season, and there will be a half time Auskick game organised by SANFL for Kangaroo Island kids.

The opening round continues on Sunday with games at Victor Harbor and Mount Compass ovals between the other six GSFLW clubs: Encounter Bay, McLaren, Mount Compass, Strathalbyn, Victor Harbor and Willunga.

Entry to all Sunday matches is free and each club has three grades participating: under 13s, under 16s, and open women.

Strathalbyn and McLaren look to be the teams to beat again this season, and Willunga and Mount Compass with a sniff as well.

Strathalbyn won its third straight premiership in 2019, having won the SA Women's Football League division five grand final in 2017 before moving to the GSFLW in 2018 and snagging the flag that year, too.

Both of the GSFLW premierships were won against McLaren, a team with height on its side and a hunger to finally capture the flag in 2020.

Open women's games will be played at 10.20am and 2.10pm every Sunday in the 14-round season.

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