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Milwaukee Bombers arrow News arrow Womens Footy News arrow You must be Yankin' our chain
You must be Yankin' our chain

Josh Rakic, August 9, 2009.

If Karmichael Hunt can do it, the USA can. Right?

But a US women's Aussie rules team? That's crazier than, well, an NRL superstar switching to AFL …

''Oh yeah, the women's Australian rules competition, US Footy, started in the States about five years ago,'' said 26-year-old ruck-rover Christina Licata, from New York.

''A group of girls from California got together first, then slowly but surely teams sprouted up all over the nation - Arizona, Atlanta, Washington, New York, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Sacramento.

''It's steadily growing. We even have our own national titles each year.''

Crazier yet, they came within three goals of defeating the Sydney Women's AFL team yesterday in a hard-fought encounter at Marrickville's Mahoney Park.

US Freedom captain Jenny Sarbacker was even given a souvenir to remember Sydney by, suffering heavy swelling to her cheek after an off-the-ball ''incident''.

There are matches pencilled in for Cairns, Bendigo and Melbourne on the side's first international tour to Australia, which was two years in the making.

The women's teams throughout the US have even claimed our public holidays in order to fund their Australian getaway.

''The New York team, we throw Australia Day events, Anzac Day events and AFL grand final day events,'' said Licata, who missed yesterday's match with an ACL tear suffered in a brutal New York metro encounter last month.

''They bring in a huge amount of people, so a lot of our travel is subsidised by that. Other clubs have car washes and do calendars for fundraising. We get pretty creative.''

But Licata and co aren't just throwing Australian rules into even tighter pants than we're used to and giving it a pretty face - they're spreading the word.

And like a handful of our own AFL players, many can be found at a bar at 2am on any given night.

''Setanta Sports shows a lot of AFL games in the States and there's a bar in midtown Manhattan named The Australian where I head at 2am to watch games live,'' Licata said.

''I love to watch it and see a good match. A lot of girls do.''

But why Australian rules?

''The way I first saw it was through the men's competition in the States - there are about 40 teams across the country - and it looked really exciting,'' Licata said.

''There's just such a huge population of expat Aussies in America and I guess they brought it over in order to feel a little closer to home. And Americans jumped right on.

''The teams are pretty spread out across the nation, so most women's teams break up into two squads and have a metro season against each other. Then we have games against each other throughout the year, so we do a lot of travelling.

''This year we had tournaments in Atlanta and Milwaukee, and then we'll have the national tournament in October in Ohio.''

Picture taking the bus from Sydney to Perth once a month just to have your body belted like Danny Green's sparring partner. Then spare a thought for the team members who are pushing 40 years of age.


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