Football enthusiasts can look forward to seeing the best 50 female AFL players in Australia play in two exhibition matches between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs in 2015.
Melbourne Football Club will host he first game at the MCG on May 24 in a double header with the Western Bulldogs.
The Western Bulldogs will host the second match on August 16 at Etihad Stadium.
Both Clubs have appointed their coach panels. Michelle Cowan again heads the undefeated Demons while highly experienced former Collingwood premiership player and talent manager, Craig Starcevich has been appointed the Bulldogs coach.
Starcevich is keen to put the Bulldogs first win on the board. The last time Cowan and Starcevich faced off as head coaches was at the 2014 Youth Girls Nationals. Cowan’s Western Australia team was victorious and went on to become the first non-Victorian team to take the overall title.
Melbourne Football Club chief executive Peter Jackson said the club is committed to providing genuine opportunities to assist with the development and promotion of the sport.
“The exhibition match provides a platform for the Club to share football experiences at an elite level. These players are exciting athletes and we are looking forward to the next clash against the Western Bulldogs,” he said.
2015 Coaching Panels
Michelle Cowan (WA)
Narelle Smith (SA)
Shaun O’Loughlin (Vic)
Martine Pearman (WA)
Adrian Pavese (NSW/ACT)
Andy Hood (NT)
Western Bulldogs FC
Craig Starcevich (Q)
Nicole Graves (WA)
Jane Lange (Vic)
Nikki Harwood (WA)
Krissie Steen (NSW/ACT)
Jeff Whitaker (Vic)
2015 Retained Players
To provide the next wave of exciting youth girls players the opportunity to be drafted both clubs have retained six players only from their 2014 team list.
Ellie Blackburn will consider herself unlucky to be delisted when she gathered the most possessions in the 2014 match, while outstanding contributors Lou Wotton (Vic) and Courtney Gum (NSWACT) have retired from AFL and will be sorely missed by the Demons.
Melbourne’s retained players:
• Chelsea Randall (WA) was best on ground in last year’s match
• Tayla Harris (Qld) one of three All-Australian youth girls who took the mark of the game and kicked two goals
• Kirby Bentley (WA) repelled numerous attacks from half back
• Kara Donellan (WA) is an outstanding leader and role model to the younger players
• Melissa Hickey (Vic) was the best defender keeping Katie Brennan under pressure all game
• Daisy Pearce (Vic) the Melbourne Captain and number one Draft pick in 2013.
Western Bulldogs’ retained players:
• Aasta O’Connor (Vic) Captain of the team since 2013
• Katie Brennan (Vic) lively forward and strong overhead mark
• Stephanie Chiocci (Vic) has not hit her straps in the Exhibition Games as yet but when she does she will be damaging
• Moanna Hope (Vic) was agile and made the most of limited opportunities when drafted to full forward in 2014
• Emma Kearney (Vic) displayed great dash to power away from numerous contests
• Darcy Vescio (Vic) was one of the Doggies best players in the 2014 match
The Draft nomination process for 2015 opened on February 10 and will close February 27.
The 2015 AFL Women’s Draft will be conducted on April 20 at Etihad Stadium. Clubs can draft 16 players and one emergency.
Players not selected on April 20 will have the opportunity to be selected at a mini-Draft on July 22. To be held after the state games, National Youth Championships and state league matches, the mini-Draft will allow the Demons and Bulldogs add to up to 12 players to their lists.