Almanac Book Review – The Women’s Footy Almanac 2018: Women still doing it for themselves



The Women’s Footy Almanac 2018
Edited by Kasey Symons and Yvette Wroby
Malarkey Publications Pty Ltd


by Cheryl Critchley


The first AFLW season was always going to be a hard act to follow, with its sold-out opening game, solid TV ratings and many game highlights as Australia’s best women players finally enjoyed their own national competition.


Media coverage was rapturous and little girls found themselves looking up to female heroes who inspired them to watch and, in many cases, play Aussie Rules. Fast forward to 2018 and it was almost impossible for Season 2 to live up to that fabulous first season.


A lack of promotion didn’t help. Keen to push its perplexing AFLX hybrid ‘game’, the AFL was decidedly low-key in its marketing of AFLW 2018, while some cynics claimed the women’s competition would be a ‘one hit wonder’.


But the strong, bold women (and men) who helped build AFLW worked hard to produce another season filled with highlights (e.g. Bulldog Brooke Lochland’s record seven-goal haul) and controversy (e.g. Bulldogs captain Katie Brennan missing the Grand Final due to suspension).


The Women’s Footy Almanac 2018 was there to cover it all to perfection, warts and all. This comprehensive and creative season summary includes everything from the disappointing opener between Collingwood and Carlton to the record 41,975 Optus Stadium crowd for Fremantle-Collingwood, the exhilarating Pride Game and the Western Bulldogs’ Grand Final victory.


As co-editor Yvette Wroby writes in her introduction, “We’ve had football and we’ve had social change. This book is full of those stories, full of love and full of appreciation of these fine footy women.”


Yvette and Kasey Symons have done a brilliant job compiling this important book, which provides a thorough overview of the season and all the important stats. The AFLW has attracted good media since it started in 2017, but nowhere near the microscopic level of detail the men’s game enjoys. The women’s Almanac fills that gap thanks partly to the foresight of John Harms, who has published the AFL men’s Almanac since 2007.


An accomplished author and journalist, John’s efforts have helped many emerging writers to have their work published, while producing quality publications also featuring the work of experienced scribes. It’s a winning formula that the women’s Almanac continues under the guidance of Yvette and Kasey, whose passion for AFLW knows no bounds.


Canadian-born footballer and artist Kendra Heil provided the artwork and poet Damian Balassone wrote a quatrain each week. They were supported by a strong cast of male and female writers who injected the same passion we are used to reading after men’s games.


Jackie Lynch, for example, perfectly captured Brooke Lochland’s historic seven-goal haul during the AFLW Pride Game between the Bulldogs and Carlton: “Cometh the second quarter, cometh the ice woman. Brooke Lochland wrote herself into AFLW history, kicking four goals in the second on her way to a league high of seven in one game. I’m hoping that this famous footy moment from the former speed skater will lead to a rush of I, Tonya/AFLW memes.


“Lochland’s big night out was a combination of guile, speed, skill and a fanatically committed Bulldogs unit which dominated the game with pressure, possession and hard running. In one telling moment, Lochland ran on to a perfectly placed Kirsty Lamb kick and sprinted away from her opponents for the easiest of goals.


“Lochland’s heroics were supported by the crash and bash of Bonnie Toogood who kicked three of her own. By the end of the second, the Dogs had kicked six, while the Blues were yet to trouble the scoreboard. The scoreboard, incidentally, failed to name the Bulldogs’ opposition for almost half of the game, leaving a blank space next to the 0.0.0.”


Bobby Macumber summed up the social importance of that night: “I came out to my family when I was in my early twenties and, like a lot of LGBTQI people, I struggled with my sexuality growing up. Tonight’s game meant so much to a number of players who are out and proud, but more importantly it was an open and safe place for young LGBTQI people to know that they are loved and supported in this AFLW community.”


As Yvette says, this book is not just about footy. It’s about social change and women breaking new ground. The appendices are also a great resource for those keen to know more about our pioneering AFLW players. It features player bios, the season at a glance, 2018 club best and fairest awards, 2018 highest goalkicker award, the umpires, the 2018 Women’s Malarkey Medal and writer bios.


The Women’s Footy Almanac 2018 is a must for anyone who loves their footy.




Read about The Women’s Footy Almanac 2018 HERE.
Copies of The Women’s Footy Almanac 2018 are available for sale via our online store.



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