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Mouncey "extremely disappointed" after AFLW draft ban

Football

The AFL Players’ Association isn’t happy and transgender footballer Hannah Mouncey didn’t like the outcome either, but she thanked the AFL after she was ruled ineligible for today’s Women’s league draft.

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Mouncey was barred by the league from this year’s draft less than 24 hours before it was held today in Melbourne.

But she will be allowed to nominate for next year’s draft.

Having previously played for the Australian men’s handball team, Mouncey began a gender transition in 2015.

The 190cm, 100kg ruck played eight games for Ainslie in Canberra’s women’s competition this season and kicked 17 goals.

“While I am extremely disappointed with the AFL’s decision regarding my participation in (the) AFLW draft, I thank them for the genuine way in which they approached my situation,” Mouncey said.

“Despite not being able to take part in the draft, the AFL has given me the all-clear to play for Ainslie next year in the AFL Canberra competition for which I am very grateful and look forward to doing in 2018, before hopefully being able to nominate for next year’s draft.”

It is understood an AFL sub-committee rejected her draft nomination based on an exception in the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s guidelines ‘Trans and gender diverse inclusion in sport – complying with the Equal Opportunity Act 2010’.

The exception is to ensure players don’t have an unfair competitive advantage in single-sex competitions where the strength, stamina or physique of players is relevant.

“The sub-committee’s decision took into account the stage of maturity of the AFLW competition, its current player cohort and Ms Mouncey’s individual circumstances,” an AFL statement read.

“Ms Mouncey may nominate for future AFLW drafts and for registration in other Australian Football competitions.”

The recreational nature of state-based women’s leagues – as opposed to the semi-professional AFLW – is understood to be the key factor in her continued participation.

The sub-committee was made up of AFL commissioners Jason Ball, Gabrielle Trainor and Major General Simone Wilkie, AFL general manager inclusion and social policy Tanya Hosch and AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon.

The AFLPA criticised the league for a lack of transparency and dragging its feet on the issue.

“Whilst Hannah was provided with the opportunity to discuss her application with the AFL, the AFLPA believes there should have been clear guidelines available for transgender players wishing to enter the AFLW draft this year,” the union’s Brett Murphy said.

“No athlete should face such confusion around their eligibility for an elite competition just days out from a draft.”

The AFL follows International Olympic Committee protocols which state an athlete must prove their testosterone count is below a certain level.

It is understood Mouncey meets those requirements.

However, AFL football chief Steve Hocking said before the ruling was made public that it wasn’t just a case of applying Olympic standards to the AFL.

“There have been a lot of references around the IOC and so forth and their criteria,” Hocking told AFL Trade Radio.

“But the AFL game is quite different to a number of those sports.”

The Western Bulldogs selected Isabel Huntington with the No.1 pick in the draft this afternoon, while reigning premiers Adelaide took Jessica Allan – the youngster sister of Crows premiership player Sarah Allan – at No.8.

A gifted utility who is coming off a knee reconstruction, Melbourne University product Huntington had been widely billed as the best all-round player in the draft pool.

Fremantle picked Swan Districts midfielder Stephanie Cain at No.2, while Collingwood selected Chloe Molloy with pick No.3.

Monique Conti — a WNBL player with the Melbourne Boomers — was taken by the Bulldogs at No.4.

There were 49 live picks at this year’s draft with the talent pool from diverse backgrounds including basketball, netball, volleyball and even motor-cross.

FIRST ROUND OF THE 2017 AFLW DRAFT

1. Isabel Huntington (Western Bulldogs)

2. Stephanie Cain (Fremantle)

3. Chloe Molloy (Collingwood)

4. Monique Conti (Bulldogs)

5. Jodie Hicks (Greater Western Sydney)

6. Eden Zanker (Melbourne)

7. Jordan Zanchetta (Brisbane)

8. Jessica Allan (Adelaide)

-AAP

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