A new era of women’s football kicks off this weekend.

THE inaugural Central Victorian Women’s Football League kicks off this weekend with the five-team competition to see two clubs fielding new women’s sides.

Bendigo Football Netball League clubs Kangaroo Flat and Strathfieldsaye will field their first senior women’s teams as part of the competition.

The league is a breakaway from the Northern Country Women’s League, which last year encompassed clubs from the AFL Central Victoria, AFL Goulburn Murray and AFL Central Murray regions.

Teams from the Bendigo Thunder, North Bendigo and Kyneton will join the two new clubs in the league.

The competition forms part of the female talent pathway, allowing players to move from junior football to senior football and onto the Bendigo Thunder’s senior side at a regional representative level.

“To finally have a senior women’s football competition in our region is fantastic and we are excited to see how the league will progress in the coming years with additional teams,” AFL Central Victoria’s Amy Kenyon said.

“2018 is our inaugural year with five teams in the competition, and will be looking to increase that number in 2019.”

The bulk of that number will likely come from other BFNL clubs who are aiming to field senior women’s teams.

The Bendigo Junior Football League has three junior levels of competition for girls, and the TAC Cup last year added a girls competition.

“It’s exciting to have new teams Kangaroo Flat and Strathfieldsaye involved this year and a credit to the clubs for getting their teams off the ground so quickly and give women a chance to play our great game,” Kenyon said.

“Many of the women playing in the league will be coming in brand new to footy and never played before, so for many of the players it will be a season of learning, developing skills and enjoying the social side of being a part of a sporting club.

“We are very keen to see the development of the league and its players as it gets up and running.”

The inaugural season has also drawn the support of Champions IGA as naming rights sponsor.

The opening round of the season begins on Saturday as Kyneton hosts Strathfieldsaye from 11.45am.

The game is a curtain raiser to the under-18, reserves and senior games between the clubs at the Kyneton Showgrounds.

Sunday sees the Thunder host North Bendigo at Weeroona Oval, while Kangaroo Flat has the opening round bye.