Sporting festival highlights contributions – Surf Coast Times

LOCAL sports stakeholders will have the opportunity to gain insight into some of the region’s most prominent female athletes over an ’empowerment and motivation’ breakfast tomorrow morning at the GMHBA Stadium.

The Female Festival of Sport Breakfast, taking place tomorrow (Friday, May 12) from 6:30am to 9am, is AFL Barwon’s flagship event for its week-long (May 8th to 15th) Female Festival of Sport program, during which the Influence of local women in sport is celebrated.

A panel of speakers will be present at breakfast, including Geelong Cats coach and Channel 7 commentator Daisy Pearce, Program Manager for the Commonwealth Games 2026 Sarah Albon and AFL National Program Manager for Indigenous Peoples Lily Graham.

“The purpose of the breakfast is to highlight the diverse roles women can play in local sports,” said Michelle Gerdtz, chair of the AFL Barwon Commission.

“Having someone like Daisy speak at this week’s event is just phenomenal. What she has accomplished in the AFL is amazing and raising the profile of women’s sports is fantastic.”

“I can’t wait to hear what she has to say.”

Michelle Gerdtz, chair of the AFL Barwon Commission, says the Female Festival of Sport is vital to highlight women’s contribution to local sport.

Other festival activities held earlier in the week ranged from a Geelong Falcons x AusKick Buddy Night on Monday to a Community Club Champion Celebration Night tonight.

The breast cancer awareness session will also be held as part of the Geelong/Bellarine Football Netball League football and netball competitions on Saturday.

“It’s really important to highlight women’s participation in sport in this way and we’re seeing a massive upsurge in women’s football across the region,” said Ms Gerdtz.

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“For any person involved in a club, there are many ways to contribute to local sport, whether through volunteer work or in administration.”

Bree Beckley, MC of Breakfast and VFLW player for the Geelong Cats, has worked in sports administration since 2021, initially as a regional support administrator at Leisure Networks before becoming AFL Barwon’s female football coordinator.

Earlier this year, Ms. Beckley was named Talent Operations Lead with the Geelong Falcons.

“The festival is a recognition that the sport has been heavily male dominated over the years. It’s also a recognition that there are many girls and women who still love to play sports,” she said.

“Personally, I played at St Mary’s in the inaugural year of the AFL Barwon women’s football competition and from an administrative perspective it’s great to see the league continue to grow, especially post COVID-19.

Bree Beckley, who was largely responsible for last year’s inaugural festival, is now head of talent at the Geelong Falcons.

“Local sport plays a big part in the community and brings everyone closer together.”

For the full program of this year’s Female Festival of Sport, visit

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