Collingwood on the lead in mentor role for Caroline Springs

Caroline Springs youth girls with Collingwood's Meg Hutchins. Picture supplied

A new partnership between Caroline Springs and Collingwood football clubs will provide local female footballers the best opportunities to succeed.

With the introduction of the women’s AFL from next year, the Magpies approached a couple of grass-roots clubs across Melbourne, including the Lakers, about forming partnerships.

Lakers’ senior operations manager Marc Raak said the club jumped at the opportunity to be involved with the Magpies.

The Lakers fielded two youth girls sides this year.

“We want to increase that next year,” Raak said. “We’re trying to get a senior team up and going as well.

“This program will give us a clear direction. We’ll utilise their knowledge and sometimes train at the Holden Centre. They will help us with getting a coach for the senior women’s team.”

Magpie women’s football operations manager Meg Hutchins said the partnerships were about providing girls the right advice and structures from an early age.

“Basically we want to grow their youth girls program and make it as strong as possible,” Hutchins said.

Hutchins said the interaction between the two clubs would provide the Lakers opportunities not afforded to other clubs.

“We will potentially host them for training sessions at the Holden Centre,” she said. “They may be present at some [Magpies] training sessions and watch the team train.”

Hutchins, who will likely play for the Magpies next year, said there had been nothing comparable in female football when she started playing.

“I had to step away from playing when I was 10 or 11,” she said.

A group of Lakers players has already met Hutchins, with Raak saying they had learnt much from her.

“We got to go out for lunch with her and spend a couple of hours talking,” he said.

“They’ve got ideas and have already taken a lot of advice from her.”