A modern pioneer

TONI O'Bree is one of football's modern pioneers, a role model who has plied her trade at clubs across Australia's eastern seaboard, helping blaze a trail for the game's future generations of female stars.

O'Bree, a former Swan Hill Netball Club junior, took up football when she relocated to Ballarat for university in 2003, eventually playing premier women's football in Melbourne before moving further south again.

It was in Tasmania where O'Bree has arguably had the biggest impact to date, helping establish a league of their own on the Apple Isle.

The 2006 formation of the Tasmanian Women's Football League was no mean feat, with O'Bree and Vanessa Mayer initially battling to be taken seriously.

"It was really hard. There were still those gender differences within AFL Tasmania," O'Bree said.

"We had to take a male to meetings or they laughed at us."

For more on this story see Wednesday's edition of The Guardian (July 10, 2015).