FOOTBALLER Emily Rowe says she thinks a trans woman will soon play in the AFLW.

Rowe, Victoria’s first openly trans footballer, will play for the Shepparton Bears in the new Northern Country Women’s League later this year.

Other trans women play in Victorian leagues, and the AFL says it is ready to deal with trans players being accepted into the AFLW.

Rowe said it would be an inspiration if a trans woman reached the AFL’s top level.

“I think it would be really significant. We already have knowledge of quite a few transgender athletes coming through in the United States,’’ she said.

“It’s really important to show kids coming through now who feel like they are different that they are normal and can do normal things.

“One of the best things you can do is get involved with a footy club and have a kick with your mates.

“If I can do that and show it’s a normal beautiful part of being Australian hopefully that creates a pathway.

“And hopefully we might have one of these kids coming through in three or four years who can make their debut in the AFL Women’s competition.”

Rowe has been involved in football all her life, and has just returned to the game after beginning transition last year.

Shepparton Bears president Will Phillips said he expects a positive reception later this year when Rowe takes to the field again.

“We like to think we are a family and community based club with everyone’s best interests at heart,’’ he said.

“We are really open and inclusive and we are not judging anyone. We want to show respect for everyone.

“We are more than happy to have her involved at the club. We were the first GVFL club to take up a women’s team last year and are really keen to maintain the momentum.

“It has opened up to the conversation to me over the last couple of weeks, it wasn’t something that generally you spoke about around the dinner table.

“But we hope there is a good reception for her and we hope that like the people in our club there will be respect and we have an expectation there will be.”

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