After a rival league announced that it was not going to have a second season in Australia due to financial reasons, the Legends Gridiron League has risen out of the ashes. Taking into account that the rival league had flown in players from its United States-based league to boost interest in the league, it was easy to see it as another example of that league not living up to its promises (as Canadian fans can attest to).
For all the dedicated coaches and players who trained so hard in the off-season, it could not have been more heartbreaking. With the New South Wales Surge on-board, the champions from the rival league’s inaugural Australian campaign, it certainly adds an element of excitement for the budding league.
Seven teams are poised to sprout in the start-up league with the Victoria Maidens and the New South Wales Surge from the former rival league jumping on board. Import players Danika Brace and Stevi Schnoor have signed on to remain with the Maidens. Other franchises include Tasmania, Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory Spirit.
Originally started in 2012 as a feeder league for teams such as the Surge, a new owner has injected new life into the league, poised to make it work. Discussions of compensation have also brought with it feelings of optimism.
Taking into account that the former rival league was slated to begin its season in October 2014, an official launch is not slated until early 2015. While remaining team names, uniform production and national try-outs are still in the works, it is imperative that relationships with players, coaches, staff, officials and supporters are built on integrity and respect. Sadly, the impact of the rival league (and a lawsuit from a former player in Los Angeles) has created a group of dedicated yet disillusioned female athletes whose dreams of gridiron glory never had the chance to truly reach fruition.
While the discussion of insurance is definitely a step in the right direction, the true substance shall be in its finished product. Certainly the impact of import players such as Brace and Schnoor provides LGL competitors with valuable mentors. As women’s tackle football continues to grow in Australia, the LGL needs to have an actual season in order to not reverse any progress that has been made.
For dedicated fans of female football, there have been far too many setbacks, especially in North America. As these same fans are eager to see the game grow, success would certainly be a welcome boon. Should the league reach its goals and thrive, its greatest legacy may be in showing the former rival league how to do things right.