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Forth to captain Freo

The round three Carlton Draught Derby between Fremantle and West Coast will further add to football’s fiercest rivalry, with a women’s curtain raiser to be played before the game.

The Freo and West Coast teams will be compiled of the best female football players from the WA State Talent Academy, and will be one of a series of curtain raisers to be played throughout the AFL this season, as we move closer to a national women’s league in 2017.

Renee Forth will captain the Fremantle side against the Eagles on 9 April, and said the honour would not be taken lightly.

“I’m absolutely thrilled,” Forth said.

“I had a friend ask me, ‘do you realise that you’re the first ever female captain of the Fremantle Dockers?’

“I was a bit taken aback after realising that but it was amazing to hear.”

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 Forth is no stranger to success - having recently won the 2015 WAWFL Premiership with the Coastal Titans - but her underlying goal remains focused on the bigger picture of women’s football.

“I’ve always loved watching footy but coming from the country I wasn’t really sure if there was a pathway available for me,” she said.

“If someone is passionate about the sport, all you want is a means of getting to the highest level you can.

“That’s another reason why being an ambassador is so important because it helps the community know that footy is available for females.”

The Fremantle Dockers have a proud history of supporting the growth of women’s football through football clinics, player-run programs as well as sponsoring the largest school girls football competition in Australia, the ‘Dockers Cup’.

Freo have long understood the importance of grassroots football for female players and are committed to seeing Australian football flourish into an elite standard through a national women’s league.

Ashton Hill will also be representing Freo on derby day and said all those taking the field possess a similar ambition for the future of women’s football.

“All the girls playing in the curtain raiser would love a national competition,” Hill said.

“That’s what we’re all striving for.”

Playing on the big stage has always been the goal for Hill, and was eager for the experience against the Eagles

“It’s a pretty exciting prospect,” she said.

“To play on Domain Stadium, and add another element to the derby rivalry is pretty exciting and it should be a good game too.”

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs