By Aiman Aminudin
The popularity of American football is on the rise in Perth.
In a state proud of its own national football league, the AFL, it may surprise some that gridiron, or American football, is gaining ground.
Gridiron was first played in WA after a recruiting drive in 1988. The Gridiron West league was formed in 1994 and today hosts seven WA-based gridiron teams.
While the Perth Blitz, Perth Broncos, Curtin Saints, Claremont Jets, Rockingham Vipers, West Coast Wolverines and the Westside Steelers compete again one another locally, five other Australian states run leagues of their own.
The ACT, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania support a total of 70 teams, with 3000 players.
“I loved the sport, always wanted to try it and I had some friends already in a team so I signed up,” says Bryon Rennie, an offensive player for Perth Blitz.
Many of the clubs also have senior, women’s and junior teams.
Last weekend – in games against Curtin Saints at the James Miller Oval – Perth Blitz scored 26– 12 in seniors, 8–0 for the women’s and 56-0 for the juniors to become the first gridiron club in WA to win three matches in one round.
“The juniors and women’s teams, they didn’t let the opposition score,” says Rennie, who manages the women’s team, “Our team had a clean sweep with all three teams winning.”
Next up Perth Blitz will play Claremont Jets on November 19 while the Rockingham Vipers pit their skills against Curtin Saints.