NFC Senior Women

Norwood to tribute Ashleigh Young ahead of Round 1 clash

Norwood co-captain Steph Simmonds, right, and Central District captain Shelby Smith. Photo: David Mariuz SANFL

The Norwood Football Club will commence its 2024 SANFLW campaign at Coopers Stadium on Friday night against reigning premiers Central District.

It will be the first match the Senior Women’s program will play since the tragic passing of Female Football Manager Ashleigh Young in December, and as such the club will honour her life ahead of the League match.

The Redlegs and Bulldogs players will pause for a tribute and minute’s silence from 7:30pm, ahead of the 7:40pm first bounce.

In honour of Ashleigh – who passed away at the age of 31 – there will also be a curtain raiser Ashleigh Young Tribute Match between Wilderness and Sacred Heart girls football programs. The two schools she worked with in an administrative and director of sport capacity.

Norwood Football Club CEO James Fantasia said this tribute was an important initiative to commence the SANFLW season.

“While we had the chance to say our farewells at a beautiful send-off before Christmas, this will be the first time we gather during the competition to honour and celebrate her remarkable contributions as a young female leader in sport and the administration of women’s football,” Fantasia said.

“Ashleigh’s presence and impact on our club was profound. Her enthusiasm, dedication and drive to support and empower our female football program was truly inspiring.

“As we embark on the new season, her absence will be deeply felt but her legacy will continue to inspire us.

“Ashleigh will be dearly missed but her spirit will live on in our hearts and in the continued growth and success of our club.”

Norwood SANFLW coach Brad Ferrall said it would be an emotional moment.

“We are hoping to do Ashleigh proud,” he said.

“It’s going to be hard, and we have to support the players as much as we can in the lead up as possible. Hopefully we can channel that emotion.”

The SANFLW League match will commence at 7:40pm on Friday, March 1, with the earlier Development League match to take place from 5:40pm. The exhibition game between Wilderness and Sacred Heart will start at 4pm.

The upstairs Norwood Function Room will be open, with Bistro Meals available.

The Captains of the eight SANFLW clubs at the League’s Season Launch at Prospect Oval on Wednesday.

Norwood coach Brad Ferrall and co-captain Steph Simmonds.