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Ellis spreads the message across Australia

Jacqui Reed  September 6, 2013 9:07 AM

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ANNETTE Ellis is a self-confessed addict of Australian Football and she is busy spreading the word in Canberra.

Born in Melbourne, Ellis developed a love for the game while watching South Melbourne play in Albert Park.

A move north didn’t stifle that passion, and she is now the president of the Tuggeranong Hawks Football Club.

Ellis has changed the way the club runs, spearheading a restructure of its operations, and is working hard to put together its first women's team.

Her drive and determination has seen her nominated for the 2013 Football Woman of the Year Award, and she is a strong advocate for female involvement in the sport.

"None of these other footballers, the male kind, or any for that matter, get out there without having a mum," Ellis told AFL.com.au.

"The mothers and the sisters and the girlfriends, they all have a very vital role in supporting their football player, whoever that might be, throughout the whole of their career - whether it be local suburban football, or whether that means football at any of the highest levels that are available.

"I think it's well and truly time we saw women being given the opportunity and taking the opportunity - it's important for them to take it with both hands and actually get involved.

"We've now got women commissioners. You can't have an organisation and a sport as big as AFL without having women involved. I'm just thrilled to bits to think that we've reached the point where it's almost a natural thing that a woman wants to be involved."

Ellis is a Sydney Swans ambassador, and has worked hard to give AFL exposure in Canberra.

One of her initiatives has been inviting guests to attend Tuggeranong games to experience the sport first-hand.

"Every home game we've invited a community organisation to be our partners and our guests for a day at the footy," Ellis said.

"That's been fantastic for the players and the club itself. We're looking forward to continuing that community involvement.

"It's actually opening AFL up to the community. I can't think of one of those groups who's guests that have come along have been to AFL before, and I find that fascination. It's growing the game for us."

Book your tickets now for the Grand Final Comedy Debate when the Football Women of the Year will be announced.