King Gizzard, culture and a country community. Anglesea football club may well be Australia’s coolest

On a winter’s afternoon this year, Cassie Harrison jogs off the field of her coastal home footy ground to, as she cheerfully terms it, “lighten the load”.

“There’re a few of us who have needed to breastfeed mid-game,” she says.

“You kind of just do what you need to do to keep playing.”

This might be one of the coolest football teams in Australia and nobody in Anglesea is taking it for granted.

Woman wearing black jacket and beanie smiles with football ground in background
“How bloody cool is that?”: Angelsea player Cassie Harrison.(ABC News: Jeremy Story Carter)

For six decades, the small beachside community about 90 minutes’ drive south-west of Melbourne has fielded a men’s football team that, by Anglesea Football and Netball Club (AFNC) president Jamie Mackenzie’s reckoning, has “punched above its weight”.

The clubroom walls, adorned with pictures of AFL superstar Patrick Dangerfield as a bright-faced Anglesea junior, lend credibility to that.

But until recently it had never fielded a senior women’s side.

Two young women smile wrestling wearing blue hoodies on a football oval
Teammates Jessie Shea and Nadia McCristal love having a hometown team to play for. (ABC News: Jeremy Story Carter)

That absence was keenly felt by Jessie Shea. As a teenager, she played in the mixed football competition with her brother until the age of 14 when the league switched to boys-only.

Her brother could keep playing in the Anglesea juniors. She had to travel 20 minutes up the Great Ocean Road to play for Torquay.

“It was pretty tough because Torquay are Anglesea’s biggest rivals,” Jessie says.

“I felt like a bit of a traitor. I coped a bit for that.”


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