Matt Marsden of Girls Play Footy joins Cliona Foley on Off The Bench to talk Women's Australian Rules
February 2017 is a historic month for Australian Rules Down Under.
With the launch of the AFL Women's (AFLW), it marks the start of a new professional league for women players in a sport in which the men's game has deep roots in Australian society.
On this month's Newstalk Off The Bench podcast with journalist Cliona Foley, she was joined by Matt Marsden, co-founder of Girls Play Footy to talk about the history of women's Australian Rules, Irish players and the impact the new league will have.
You can listen into this month's podcast below which includes the monthly debate. This month it's Sinead Farrell and Sinead O'Carroll joining Cliona. The podcast is also available on iTunes.
One thing Marsden touched on was the impact Irish players could have.
"One of the things about the sport is that at local level or state level, it draws so many players from international backgrounds. Certainly from Europe, they come over and look for a sport that's similar to Gaelic or rugby union or handball or volleyball - anything like that that's major in Europe," he explained.
One example is Laura Corrigan Duryea who is a former Cavan footballer who will play for Melbourne.
"In Victoria here, she's part of one of the football teams that have been really prominent in the last few years, Diamond Creek. She plays as a full back - a defender in our game. She's one of those players who came over. I think she's been in Australia for nine years and she's been playing the game since she got here. And she's held in very high regard in the competition over here."
On the new AFLW, Marsden describes it as "semi-pro with one eye on it being professional" as the long term goal.
He also added that the "really pleasing thing" is that games will be broadcast on free-to-air television which means it will be available to a ready audience from its inception.
And the new women's league is building on a long history within Australian Rules.
"The history of the women's game dates back 100 years now," he said, although he adds that the women's game "had been in the shadows" until now in comparison to the men's game.
Irish born player Laura Corrigan Duryea speaking to Creekers TV: