The Under 17 Youth Girls State Championships wrapped up on Sunday with Gold Coast winning the Pool A final and Central Queensland winning Pool B.
It was a particularly strong carnival for the Gold Coast and Central Queensland sides, both who went through undefeated.
“It was good. It was a shame that you didn’t get to see the talls do a little bit more of their thing because of the conditions, but all things considered it was pretty impressive,” said AFL Queensland Women’s High Performance Coach Craig Starcevich.
Belle Dawes from the Sunshine Coast Storm was awarded player of the carnival, after a series of standout performances in the midfield.
“She was super. She wins the ball when her team hasn’t got it, she puts pressure on the opposition and lays tackles and if she finds herself in space she’s a pretty clever user of the footy as well,” said Starcevich.
“She’s constantly busy, that’s the bit that stands out about Belle. She works really really hard.”
Dawes wasn’t the only one to have a strong carnival and as Starcevich pointed out, Lauren Bella and Lily Postlethwaite also showed promising signs.
“The next step for those kids is to perform well with the Lions and SUNS Academy Series next Febuary, March, April,” he said.
“Then hopefully step it up again when they play for Queensland in may through to July next year.”
Despite the wet and soggy conditions, each pool had its share of exciting contests and put on a show for the crowd gathered at Leyshon Park, Yeronga.
In Pool B, Papua New Guinea edged out Darling Downs by six points but also lost to Northern Rivers by five points, while in Pool A, the Sunshine Coast got over the line by a point in a thriller against Brisbane South.
Brisbane North’s Imogen Stackelberg was the leading goal kicker across the event, bagging seven, including a four goal haul against Brisbane South.
Given the Gold Coast SUNS have an AFLW team arriving in 2020, around thirty more elite players need to be uncovered, making the depth of talent available in Queensland an important factor in the coming years.
The State Championships kicked off on the 9th of October and ran through to Sunday the 22nd.
Natalie Grider (Brisbane South Vixens), Molly Suter (Brisbane North Brumbies), Lilah Malabag (Papua New Guinea Kurukums), Allanah Phineasa (North Queensland Kookaburras), Ruby Edmeades (Northern Rivers Breakers), Tiff Dale (Sunshine Coast Storm), Ebony Peterson (Gold Coast Sunsets), Grace Bloomfield (Darling Downs Demons), Lauren Bella (Central Queensland Kookaburras).
By Sean Melrose