By Brittany Hancock
As the AFL season comes to an end, a different kind of football is scoring big in the west.
Fresh from the hype of local success story Jarryd Hayne with the San Francisco 49ers, Gridiron West commenced their season last Saturday with games across Perth.
Claremont Jets’ coach Tony Ferraris said interest in the sport had peaked thanks to widespread coverage of Hayne.
“It has lifted the awareness of Gridiron Australia and there has been some good advertising on Foxtel to join a Gridiron team anywhere in the country,” he said.
Shaun Hodge of Leederville joined the Jets last year after being persuaded by a friend and agreed that interest had increased.
“A lot of people now know we have competitions held in Australia … last year fewer people really knew this sport existed here,” he said.
“The sport is for everyone regardless of size, athleticism or experience. You will always find a position suitable for your skills.”
And despite ongoing comparisons between gridiron and the AFL, Mr Ferraris said skills from either sport can be transferred.
“People come up to me all the time talking about the comparisons with the AFL,” he said.
“And we have a lot of guys who come in and, thanks to their AFL skills, are phenomenal at getting loose balls and tackling, but then on the other hand I’ve had two or three guys approach me after going back to footy saying how gridiron has improved their marking skills.”
Gridiron West runs seven teams with the season finishing in early February with a final referred to as the ‘West Bowl’.
Mr Ferraris said he would love to see more people take part.
“I encourage people to come down, whatever way they want to get involved, have some fun and watch”.