Female football continues to soar following Proctor Park Challenge success


Female football was alive and kicking as an incredible 121 teams descended to Bathurst and took part in the 2023 Proctor Park Challenge across five age groups in what was one of the largest pre-season tournaments ever staged

The record number of teams from across all levels of football as well as three different Member Federations saw an avalanche of female football played out over 11 fields.

The action was fierce as the Sutherland Shire FA took out the Under 12 Girls category, an age group that played under the small-sided format of 9 v 9.

The Under 14 Girls saw a massive 43 teams contest for the Cup and it was APIA Leichhardt FC who proved too strong for their fellow competitors.

Blacktown Spartans asserted the dominance during the week as they took out both the Under 15 and Under 16 Age groups respectively.

While finally for the first time in the tournament’s history, Capital Football’s West Canberra Wanderers stole the headlines by clinching the inaugural Under 17’s age group.

Football NSW’s Regional Development Manager Andrew Fearnley said this was a great opportunity for clubs to test their strengths just before the season’s kicking off in NSW.

“The clubs played teams they wouldn’t normally play which allows a good experience.

“It was positive to see the continued growth in female football in terms of both the quality of team play, individuals and in popularity.

“This was a huge effort from all at Football NSW including the referee attendance, and both Bathurst District Football and Bathurst Regional Council as I am sure this will only grow in 2024.”

The weekend also brought a coaching element to the tournament as Young Matildas’ coach Leah Blayney attended and took part in hosting a Talent ID Workshop alongside Andrew Fearnley.