Saturday, August 27, 2016 - 1:52 PM

THE West Perth Football Club will enter teams in the WA Women's Football League in 2017 after the board unanimously voted this week to enter into an arrangement with the Joondalup Women’s Football Club.

The move will see Western Australia’s oldest surviving football club bring the successful Joondalup women’s club into the fold, integrating all administrative and on-field functions with the operations of the West Perth Football Club at HBF Arena.

The announcement has been two years in the making and will give the women’s club the support it needs to ensure it continues to develop the game for women in the northern corridor.

The arrangement is the first of its kind between a WAFL club and a women’s team and will see three West Perth sides – Youth Girls, Reserves and League – entered in the WA Women’s Football League competition in 2017.

Joondalup Women’s Football Club President Dave Burton said the club had enjoyed a strong relationship with West Perth Football Club for many years.

"It’s great to see it progress to this point and provide an invaluable opportunity for all females within our district and give them a clear pathway through to the AFL if that’s where they dream to go," Burton said.

West Perth Football Club President Brett Raponi said West Perth players, both male and female, would receive the highest quality coaching, training and support.

WA Women’s Football League President Carolyn Hills said women’s football was growing in popularity and the move would position West Perth to be a successful team in the years to come.

"I congratulate the West Perth Football Club and their commitment to women's football," Hills said.

"To embrace the women's side that has been successfully representing the district since their inception into the WA Women's Football League in 2007 as one of their teams within the club is a fantastic move."

The integration of the Joondalup Women’s Football Club into the West Perth Football Club comes as the AFL prepares for the first national women’s competition, in February.

The AFL’s move followed an increase in female participation of 46 per cent in 2015.

AFL national manager of female football Jan Cooper said she was thrilled with the arrangement.

"The sustainability of football clubs at all levels will be assured with strong alignments such as West Perth's," Cooper said.

"Congratulations to all those involved in this decision. Hopefully this will motivate other WAFL clubs to reconsider their women’s state league club partnership."

It’s not the first time a women’s team has been connected with West Perth.

In the 1920s, a team of women representing Brennan’s department store in a match against Aherns at Leederville Oval was coached by West Perth stalwarts Jim Gosnell and Tom Sampson.

In 1947, the West Perth Girls’ Football Club was formed and a game was played against an East Perth team at Perth Oval. 

Two years later, the club was revived as the West Perth Women’s Football Club and was coached by West Perth head trainer Frank Hughes, but was unable to secure West Perth jumpers and played a game against East Perth while wearing South Fremantle jumpers.

The Joondalup Women’s Football Club will play in the WAWFL reserves grand final this weekend