SENIOR WOMEN’S ROAD SAFETY RETROSPECTIVE
By KEL ROWE
Last weekend the TAC Road Safety Round was marked by local footy clubs across Victoria, and the teams of the VU Polytechnic Senior Women’s Competition were no exception. We caught up with some familiar faces from across the competition to see how they were “banding together” to reinforce the significance of the Round.
The annual TAC campaign reminds us that road safety is the responsibility of everyone, with this year’s focus on the theme of “driving without distraction”. Senior Women’s teams from across both Divisions 1 and 2 donned the TAC blue armbands as they took to the field over the weekend, and many spent the week running up to the round reflecting on their responsibility to drive safely.
Laverton player Mikayla Robinson flagged that it was important to discuss road safety with her team. “We’re making sure that we’ve got a really open discussion going with the girls and the coaches,” she said, prior to the Magpies’ hit-out with Caroline Springs.
Similarly, over at Dempster Park, Braybrook captain Jenny Tang agreed that for the Brookers greater safety awareness was key. “We’re ensuring that road safety awareness is increased, so we’re all going home safely after our game.”
Her North Sunshine counterpart Kelly Wade couldn’t agree more with the sentiment, recognising that everyone is impacted by other’s actions on the road. “It’s good to get together as a football club, along with the other clubs in the region, and raise awareness on the topic. We’re all wearing our bands and getting ready to go out there together as a team.”
Each year, too many lives are lost on Victorian Roads, and many of the players of the VU Polytechnic Senior Women’s competition have felt the impacts of road accidents and trauma firsthand.
Rose Mason, West Footscray defender, said that for her, the round was personal. “It should mean something to everyone — I have had family in road accidents, it hits home. I will always make sure everyone has a safe drive home.”
Echoing Mason’s message, Wyndhamvale speedster Poppy Popplewell was clear-minded about the significance of the round, highlighting that “Cars are replaceable, but lives are not.”
Whilst they might be opposition on field, the players were overwhelmingly in agreeance when it came to driving without distraction — phones were a key offender, and many had great strategies to remove any temptation their devices presented.
When driving, Spurs captain Aleisha Casley is careful to have everything she needs before setting off; and insists on phones being out of reach, or in the hands of her passengers. “If you are driving with someone, make sure that they control the music,” she said.
Robinson, Popplewell and Wade all switch off their devices when they drive and Tang said it was important to firmly discourage risk-taking behaviour when driving — “it’s not worth it,” she said.
Whilst the TAC Road Safety Round might be over for Season 2023, these women of the West are determined to continue spreading the importance of driving safely, without distraction, because we ALL have someone to drive safely for.