10 Things you missed at the Youth Girls Champs

10 things you might have missed at the Youth Girls State Championships

1.       Queensland great roughing it

There was a dual Grogan Medallist among the throng at the Youth Girls State Champs on the weekend, thought he was trying his best to hide himself. Owen Queensland team of the Century member Backwell stepped in at the last minute to help out the Wide Bay team, coached by his son, Dino, driving their bus. Because of parking issues, Backwell had to sleep in the bus for two nights, at the Auchenflower railway station. That was nothing, thought, compared to the wrath of his other son, whose son’s birthday he missed for the championships. That’s dedication to football.

2.       Freeman doing the hard yards

Sunshine Coast junior and Brisbane Lions player spent his entire weekend down at the Champs, helping out the Sunshine Coast Storm, his sister, Bella’s team. Freeman ran water and provided plenty of moral support for the Sunny Coast girls, who finished third. he also got involved in the photo booth through the weekend, and took the opportunity to have a bit of a kick on the oval as well. As well as Freeman, a number of QWAFL players gave up their time to help out with the water carrying.

3.       Smyth a future superstar

There was plenty of talent throughout the teams on the weekend, some with a lot of footy experience, but some with not much at all, Jordan Smyth was the surprise packet for Mackay, playing her first games of footy for the Vipers. Playing in the back lien and the ruck, Smyth took to the game easily.

4.       Sunsets’ world beaters

More than a few of the state’s youth girls players are naturally talented athletes, The Gold Coast’s Taylor Quinton has a national taekwondo title, with her teammate, Tori Groves-Little a national level skipper and track and field athlete.

5.       Close coaching connections

A lot of families were watching on the sidelines at the State Championships, but there were also some close connections in the coaching teams. For Capricornia, Ben Hopkins and Emily Wastle proved they’re a football power couple, with Hopkins calling the shots and Wastle running all the messages through the competition. For Mackay, it was a husband and wife duo who led the way.

6.       Gold Coast pathway

Sunsets assistant, Cleo Davis, has done just about everything in football. Starting out as the mascot for now Sunsets coach, Fi McLarty, at Surfers Paradise, Davis has played Auskick junior football, represented Queensland, plays in the QWAFL and can now add coach to that list.

7.        Umpires

While the champs displayed some development opportunities, it was  also a development opportunity for the umpires. Two of the female umpires, Jess Stewart and Mary Ross, were umpiring ex-team mates and their rapport helped them at their highest level of umpiring so far. The Brisbane Juniors Umpires had a chance to test themselves at a high level of footy, under the watch of their umpire observers and all relished that chance.

8.       9+10-21

A Vine sensation made its mark on the #girlsplaytoo photo booth, with plenty of pictures with signs of 9+10-21. A few staff were perplexed by the bizarre maths on display, but that was soon cleared up, once this link made the rounds. Take a look: http://youtu.be/BzVXbeASRiQ

9.       Real female footy stars

Most people have seen Tayla Harris’ mark at Etihad Stadium, but her teammates were keeping her feet on the ground. From taking a photo booth specie over “the” Tayla Harris to joking around when the highlights package from the draft game was played on the big screen, they kept her ego in check. And the 17 year-old joined in on the banter, as well. As her highlights played, she joked about the ‘other’ Tayla Harris on the screen.

Picture: Getty Images

10.   Bigger and better

This year’s Youth Girls State Championships involved 230 players and 10 teams in two divisions – the biggest yet. The standard was exceptionally high and shows exactly the depth Queensland has in football.  With six regions competing as standalone teams for the first time, the competition was fierce and showed positive signs for the development of female footy in the years to come.

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