A clash no more as women to don new jumper

Senior women's player Kiara Simons and jumper competition winner Ali at the presentation to the players. Pictures: SUPPLIED.

By Mikayla van Loon

For the first time since their establishment, the Mount Evelyn Football Club’s women’s team will have their own clash jumper to don thanks to the collaboration of the junior and senior players.

At the end of the 2023 season, women’s coach Steve Varley said Mount Evelyn faced Whitehorse where the teams’ colours clashed.

“We had to wear a bright yellow jumper. It didn’t feel right and we decided we would investigate the option of our own clash jumper,” he said.

Using it as an opportunity to bring the junior girls and senior women together, Steve said they opened it up to the under 12s and 14s to submit a design “that showed us what Mt Evelyn FC meant to them”.

Blending together the Rovers’ ‘V’ symbol and representation of the mountains, under 14s player Ali won the design competition.

“I based the design on our surroundings in Mount Evelyn bringing a bit of the training top and the mountains into it,” she said.

One of the senior players, Kiara Simons, who is also a graphic designer, helped bring the creation to life.

“There’s some little things the league has to include and so we were keeping that in mind. Steve sent me through a few photos of what some of the girls had done and Ali’s was definitely the most applicable design we could use,” she said.

“I did a few different concepts with the triangle and then I went for more of a distinctive mountain shape down the bottom. It’s all drawn back to Ali’s initial idea of using the triangle and adding a bit of meaning to it as well.”

For Ali, who only began playing football last year, being recognised as the jumper designer has been a pretty incredible experience.

“It’s really cool. I got a special mention the other day, and lots of people have been congratulating me. It just makes me feel like everyone knows me,” she said.

On Monday 18 March, the clash jumper design was unveiled in front of 110 junior and senior players.

It was a special moment for Kiara as well, knowing the women’s side has its own clash uniform to wear and the legacy she has helped create with Ali.

“We’ve had to use all sorts of different jumpers, whatever we had at the time and it’s never anything really related to our club. So it’s nice to have a proper clash jumper,” Kiara said.

“It means a lot especially playing a fair bit of junior footy here. It’s really cool to be able to design that and to wear it will be awesome, especially because it’s not just a design we’ve thrown together because it looks good, but it’s got a bit of meaning to it.”

Mount Evelyn has always focused on bringing the girls and women together as one, something Steve said they were thrilled to continue as a club with this jumper.

“This jumper will always be special to our girls program as it is truly a collaborative effort between both the junior and senior squads and it is something we are hugely proud of,” he said.

“We are hopeful over time it will be incorporated throughout all our girls teams.”

Adding to the excitement of the jumper presentation and all girls training was a visit from AFLW player Mikala Cann.

“[The] Collingwood [player] came and assisted and spent time with all the girls and was brilliant,” Steve said.

“She actually lives in Mt Evelyn and does all her running training away from Collingwood on our ground.”

As the girls and women’s teams prepare for the season to start in late April, Ali said no matter what happens it will be fun to run around on the field with a great group of friends.

“We’re going to be a really good team and if we’re not, I know I’ll have lots of fun with the people on my team,” she said.