Playing for pride

Boisdale-Briagolong players and officials from both teams wore rainbow coloured socks, laces and hair ties for the occasion.
Boisdale-Briagolong players and officials from both teams wore rainbow coloured socks, laces and hair ties for the occasion.

THE Boisdale-Briagolong women's football team played an inaugural Pride Game against Nyora on Sunday.

Players and officials from both teams were decked out in rainbow coloured socks, hair ties and beanies as the two clubs came together to recognise the LGBTI community.

Bombers player Megan Lee said inspiration for the event came about following a shocking on field tirade a number of weeks ago.

"We recently experienced slander and abuse on the field that was centred around sexual orientation," Lee said.

"It was a shock to us that some players felt it was okay to insult opponents once they cross the white line onto the field.

"It [the abuse] was probably due to their frustration, but it still never makes it right."

Following the incident the club undertook to host a Pride Game, and had specially designed jerseys to mark the occasion.

The aim of the event was to raise awareness and acceptance of those who identify as either lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex, with Lee saying there were plans to make the match an annual fixture.

"We intend to do this round every year and we're hoping that we will be able to take it across our club entirely and perhaps get our senior male players to go out in rainbow jumpers and also the netballers," she said.

"As players we need to remember it's not okay once you cross that line to say whatever you want.

"We are all adults and we're women too, and as much as you don't want to say women shouldn't swear on the field over men, nobody should be swearing on the field where they can help it.

"The odd cuss here and there over something that goes wrong is adrenalin-based, but structuring your insults around things like sexuality is never okay."

The women's pride game followed a similar initiative lead by the North Gippsland Football-Netball League, which held its third annual Pride Cup game recently.

The Bombers continued their unbeaten season, defeating Nyora 7.8 (50) to 1.3 (9).

Best players for Boisdale-Briagolong were Kiana Minchin, Brittney Gray, Jemma Dorward, Ashley Jans, Louie Patten and Alex Gallatly.

Despite the Bombers' winning streak, Lee said her teammates weren't getting too far ahead of themselves in their quest for back-to-back premierships.

"We never go into a game just expecting to win. The girls are nervous before each game and aren't cocky about it - we never think we've just got a win in the bag," she said.

With the men's senior and reserves football sides also currently undefeated, and an A grade cricket premiership last summer, Boisdale-Briagolong will be hoping to give the area even more reason to celebrate in coming months.