First Friday in February

There’s only three more sleeps until the first game of the 2018 AFLW season and we are full of memories of last years opening game. We have recorded it beautifully in The Women’s Footy Almanac 2017.


And Kirby Fenwick has spent her time recording the first night for posterity, the voices of many women interviewed about that wonderful occasion.  The audio documentary was launched today on the First Friday in February website and can be listened to via this link:


At the end of last year, I met with Kirby at RMIT and we recorded my part.  In a small sound-proof room, I had no trouble talking about the first night, and tears flowed as I remembered what the experience was like, what the night meant, and how significant an occasion it was.


This afternoon, in between having the ‘Minions’ playing on the TV for my little one and her pregnant mother sleeping next to me, I plugged my headphones in and I listened for over an hour to many voices and experiences and observations and analysis of that night.


I relived it through story telling of a different kind.


I sent Kirby what I wrote, and she added this, and it makes me tearful too.


‘That first game was so incredibly significant to me for so many different reasons. As a footy lover, as a feminist, as a woman. I remember sitting in the stands and crying and just feeling so overwhelmed by what was happening on the field and off it. And I knew that I wasn’t the only person who felt that.


It was such a momentous night for women’s football and women’s history more broadly and I wanted to capture the thoughts and memories and feelings of those who witnessed it.


Not only because so many of the stories and the history of women’s football has been lost or remains untold but also because in 100 years time, when the AFLW is firmly entrenched in our culture and communities, I want people to understand how important that night was. I want them to understand why it mattered so much to so many people, but especially to women. And I want them to get a sense for what it was like to be one of the twenty four and a half thousand people packed into Princes Park on that warm Friday night. The noise of the crowd, the heat that emanated from them, the homemade banners and signs that filled the stands. All of it.


I’m forever grateful to the excellent women who put their hand up to be a part of this project, both the documentary and the wider oral history project. They were so incredibly generous with their time and their stories and without them, this audio documentary simply wouldn’t exist.’


The first game was surrounded by love, passion, commitment and excitement.  It has been well captured in this documentary, and I congratulate Kirby and RMIT for their support of it and wish it well into the world.  It is part of the growing documentation and recording of a time and place that will forever be within us.  We can say, we were there.


And come Friday night?  We’ll be there again.










About Yvette Wroby

Yvette Wroby writes, cartoons, paints through life and gets most pleasure when it's about football, and more specifically the Saints. Believes in following dreams and having a go.


  1. Jennifer Muirden says

    Yvette, I am so very excited to attend my first AFLW match. I certainly watched most of the matches during the inaugural 2017 AFLW season kicking off with the Carlton v Collingwood clash at IKON Park on the opening Friday night. I viewed the games predominantly on free-to-air television and, even from the comfort of my living room just like you and Kirby Fenwick, I was overcome with great emotion seeing such hard work by the likes of Susan Alberti, Leesa Catto, Peta Searle, Kate Sheahan, Katie Brennan, Moana Hope, Daisy Pearce, Erin Phillips, Gillon McLachlan and countless others come to fruition – not to mention a wonderful promotion of gender equality.

    It is indeed fitting that, as a result of the successful debut year starting off with just eight teams in the first-ever elite women’s competition, it is steadily expanding with Geelong and North Melbourne getting on board in 2019 and then Gold Coast, Richmond, St.Kilda and West Coast will also join the AFL Women’s Competition in 2020.

    Being a Sainter I can’t wait for 2020 but, more importantly I can’t wait for this Friday’s opening Blues v Pies clash at Princes Park to experience the true buzz firsthand!

    Just three more sleeps …

  2. Yvette Wroby says

    And it will be great that we sit together and enjoy your first AFLW game Jenn, with true legends like Leesa Catto and Ann Rulton. All Almanackers welcome on the Royal Parade side, centre wing ground level. You won’t miss me..I’ll be the one who fluctuates between a mighty grin and tears.

    It is a party!

  3. Congratulations to all involved and good luck for tomorrow and the AFLW season

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