Saturday Serve: Hannah Mouncey decision a slap in the face for every AFLW player

It's a slap in the face for every player in the AFL Women's competition. Not just for Canberra transgender athlete Hannah Mouncey.

The AFL doesn't think you're big enough. They don't think you're strong enough. They especially don't think you're tough enough. They don't think you can handle a 190-centimetre, 100-kilogram player. It's only the AFL men who can handle that.

They can sugarcoat their decision, if you can call it that, preventing Mouncey from being part of the AFL Women's draft on Wednesday any way they like, but that's what the AFL's move to block Mouncey from taking part boils down to.

While they haven't had the guts to state exactly why they've stopped Mouncey's eligibility, it's believed they're worried about her size and the physicality she would bring to the AFLW.

Bizarrely, they're OK with that same frame running around in the Canberra women's competition for Ainslie, where she played this year ahead of what she hoped was a bid to get taken in Wednesday's draft.

She'd nominated to play for a Victorian team and Melbourne were believed to be one of the clubs interested.

Apparently, it's OK for her to play against the ACT's amateur women, but not the semi-professional elite of the AFLW. They don't think the cream of the female footballing crop can handle her.

It's a massively condescending decision and one every player in the AFLW should take personally.

The AFL clearly has no concerns with Mouncey's status as a woman - they repeatedly referred to her as a woman in their statement about ruling by the subcommittee of AFL commissioners Jason Ball, Gabrielle Trainor and Simone Wilkie, AFL inclusion general manager Tanya Hosch and AFL general manager game development Andrew Dillon.

That's where the discussions should have stopped. Is she a woman? Yes. Then she can get picked. Let's all move on.

But it wasn't her gender that was the problem apparently, it's her size.

So if a non-transgender female athlete of the same size as Mouncey was to nominate would they also be prevented from playing AFLW?

One of Australia's top basketballers, Liz Cambage, is 203cm and 98kg. While no one thinks twice apart her pounding up and down the boards on the international basketball stage, would the AFL be happy for her to play at the elite level of Australian football?

If they were being consistent, they'd have to say no.

It's a very slippery slope the AFL has positioned themselves on, but one they could've avoided - especially as they took all of the three months they had to make it since Mouncey announced her intentions.

But it's a decision they might make again next year after they left the door open for Mouncey to nominate for the 2018 draft.

With no definitive AFL transgender policy in sight it could be a case of Groundhog Day.

Rubbing further salt into the wounds of the AFLW's players is the fact Mouncey is eligible to play at the Olympic Games for every single women's sport. Every. Single. One.

That includes the sport of handball, which she has represented Australia in as a man and is now eligible to do so as a woman.

Despite her very low levels, Fairfax Media believes the AFL was still concerned when Mouncey was placed in the semi-professional environment of the AFLW and given access to the training equipment and regimes of an AFL club it would unfairly "accelerate her development and increase her physical size".

Again, the AFL doesn't think their female players could cope.

Having been brilliant just a few weeks ago with the sex-sex marriage debate - they changed the AFL logo to a Yes logo to highlight how inclusive they were - the AFL have now dropped the ball.

They're happy to be inclusive, just as long as you're not transgender. To pinch a line I saw on Twitter the other day, they're LGBQIA inclusive.

Or maybe they're inclusive of transgender people, just as long as they're not too big.

Either way the underlying undertone for those that will play in next year's competition is the AFL doesn't think you can cope. It brings old meaning to the saying, "Play like a girl".

This story Saturday Serve: Hannah Mouncey decision a slap in the face for every AFLW player first appeared on Brisbane Times.