The salacious new Aussie drama that gives you a glimpse into the secret world of WAGs.

New Australian drama Playing For Keeps may seem like a jaunty TV dream, but in truth it’s both a tantalising and terrifying ride.

The tantalisation and glamour of the show comes from the Network Ten TV series giving us a dramatised peek into the secrets, lives and lies of the Wives and Girlfriends (WAGs) of Australian football players. A world of women who, thanks to being linked to a group of male athletes our society insists as treating like Gods, have now been warped into a different version of celebrity.

A life complete with all the perks and pitfalls that come with playing in the fame game.

If you’re shaking your head right about now and asking yourself why on Earth we even need a show about the lives of women attached to footballers, then I politely invite you to click onto any Aussie news and lifestyle website, crack a magazine or take a scan through Instagram’s Discover page. Any one of these avenues will quickly prove that not only are we interested in the lives of these women in real life, but our interest has now spilled over into pure obsession.

Even I have to admit, as someone who would rather watch my iPhone slowly update than be forced to endure any kind of televised sporting event, that I find the the behind-the-scenes lives of these women somewhat fascinating, and it has nothing to do with what kind of balls their boyfriends are throwing on game days.

After all, come Brownlow Medal time (unsure as to what sport that event is actually celebrating… I want to say football? Or perhaps cricket… ) I must confess that I am watching that red carpet with laser focused eyes along with the rest of Australia, waiting for these women to arrive.


As a country, we pretty much all willed this show into existing.

Whet your appetite for Playing For Keeps by taking a look at the trailer.

Playing For Keeps kicks off at the beginning of a new football season for the the Southern Jets, a (fictional, I think) football team who are desperate to prove themselves after losing the grand final by just a single point the year before.

The club’s new recruit Daniel (George Pullar) arrives in Melbourne with his girlfriend Paige in tow.

Paige has arrived in town unemployed but determined to find a job as a teacher and make a life for herself alongside her hometown love, and the young couple find themselves giddy with excitement at the glamorous world they have manged to manoeuvre themselves into.

That is, until they actually meet the other members of the team and their wives and girlfriends, quickly finding out that they may be in way over their heads.

Paige is very much the traditional ‘fish-out-of-water’ character, and acts as our eyes and ears into a world that most of us will (thankfully) never venture into.


On her first meeting with the WAGs, Paige ambles in happily to what she believes to be a casual team BBQ, bread and sausages poking innocently out of her shoulder bag, only to find herself in a glittering champagne reception.

At the party, Paige encounters Kath (Madeleine West) the coolly mannered coach’s wife and Queen Bee of the WAG pack, along with Maddy (Annie Maynard), a high-flying lawyer and mother of two and Jessie (Isabella Giovinazzo), a young mother who we soon learn has football aspirations of her own.

Slightly less welcoming to Paige is Tahlia (Olympia Valance), a dazzling social media influencer and entrepreneur who is in the midst of launching her very own fragrance, creatively named “Tahlia by Tahlia.”

The fact that I couldn’t even make it through that last character description without throwing in a slightly insulting jab has probably already led you to discover that from the outset, Tahlia is the poster girl for what we traditionally think a WAG to be. Cutting, vapid, perfectly groomed and getting rich and famous off her partner’s skills, success and fame rather than on her own merit.

"Playing For Keeps may seem like a jaunty TV dream, but in truth it's both a tantalising and terrifying ride." Source: Network Ten.

However, it is actually the act of overturning this stereotype where Playing For Keeps really hits its stride, because not one of these women are cookie-cutter characters who the audience is encouraged to root against or judge. Rather, you'll find yourself both fascinated by their regimented world and sympathetic for the rocky roads they must now walk.

There are laughs a plenty in Playing For Keeps (many thanks to the dry wit of Tahlia) as the women guide Paige through a crash course on what it takes to be the partner of a football player. They attempt to stage a mini-makeover for Paige that kills both her bank balance and self-esteem in one fatal swoop (thanks to the fact that they dub her a size 10, but like, a Country Road size 10...) and her first foray into the their world of events at Tahlia's beauty launch is also quite the cringe-worthy affair.


(In fact, the WAGs' party mantra "the media wall is basically the whole event" is now my new favourite new saying.)

The terrifying aspect of Playing For Keeps, besides hearing about the insane beauty rituals some of these women go through each day, is how it holds a mirror up to the way we treat both players and WAGs, the way our own fandom gives way to intense hero worship.

There's a scene in the first episode where Paige is attempting to secure a teaching job and the interview is very much not going her way until she innocently lets slip who her boyfriend is and alludes to the glamorous group of women she is now running with.

Suddenly, the now flustered interviewer has found a job for her...

Playing For Keeps is a tale of romance, salacious affairs, team politics, red carpets and a whole bunch of drama around the lives of these women.

And, to be brutally honest, one of the best parts of the series is figuring out which of these salacious story-lines have been plucked and pulled from real life.

Either way, this Aussie show is a twist of facts and fiction that is sure to be an entertaining ride.

Playing For Keeps will air Wednesdays at 8:30 pm from 19 September. You can also catch up on the series on Ten Play. 

For more movie and TV recommendations you can follow writer and Mamamia Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik on Facebook.