GIRLS will be in charge of the field in Wimmera league footy action at Coughlin Park, Horsham, on Saturday.
Field umpires Olivia Dalgleish and Rebecca Hallam and boundary umpires Shauna Stringer, Eli Voigt, Chloe Jarred and Bailey Cox will officiate the under-17s match.
Wimmera Football Umpires Association secretary Kingsley Dalgleish said the group asked if they could run a game together.
“We managed to get it organised for the under-17s, which is Horsham Saints versus Dimboola,” he said.
Mr Dalgleish said the league had experienced a surge in female umpires this year.
“We have had two or three on the go for a while, but we’ve certainly had an increase this year with four new umpires,” he said.
“On Saturday, two of the girls will be field umpires and four girls will be boundary umpires.
“We don’t have any female goal umpires at the moment.”
Mr Dalgleish said this was the first time the league had seen an all-female field umpire team.
“We have never had sufficient numbers to do this before,” he said.
“We’ve had two female field umpires for a while but they have never had a run together and we haven’t had the numbers previously in boundary umpires.
“It’s something the girls wanted to do together.”
Mr Dalgleish said all the young women were more than capable umpires. “This is a great opportunity to showcase their talents,” he said.
“Hopefully it will inspire other females to jump on board.”
Mr Dalgleish said there were lots of young women who were interested in football.
“We get a lot of interest every year when we have our girls football carnival, and a lot of the girls are keen, but not necessarily about playing,” he said.
“The only other opportunity for them to get out on the field is as an umpire – it gives them an opportunity to be there in the thick of it and earn some pocket money as well.”
Mr Dalgleish said his daughter Olivia was the association’s first female umpire, joining in 2007.
“She is in Ballarat at university so she hasn’t been a regular umpire this year, but she’ll be home on Saturday for the game,” he said.
The under-17 match will kick off at 10.55am.