Curtain raising Saturday Night’s Bulldogs vs. Melbourne Women’s All-Stars match at Whitten oval is the NAB Youth Girls All-Stars game.
To get the juice on what it is, and why we should take notice, we turned to AFL Queensland Female Football High Performance Manager and Brisbane Lions Women’s Coach, Craig Starcevich.
How were the girls chosen?
“For the first time this year an All-Australian team wasn’t selected at the Youth Girls Nationals. Instead, a group of 44 players was chosen to create two teams to play as a curtain raiser to the Women’s All-Stars game.”
Who’s representing Queensland?
Queensland had seven players chosen, however Tahlia Randall has been elevated to the Women’s Game and will play for the Bulldogs again.
Shaleise Law (Zillmere), Ariana Clarke (Coolangatta), Kalinda Howarth (Coolangatta), Lauren Bella (Bakers Creek), Gabby Collingwood (Jindalee Jags) and Ruby Blair (Coolangatta).
What can we expect from them?
“The female version of Eddie Betts; lightning fast defensive pressure inside the forward 50 and if she gets the space, she hits the scoreboard.”
“Is either a medium mid. or medium defender. Really good overhead and a good decision maker. Highly skilled by foot.
“Best inside the forward 50, in terms of making the most of opportunities. Good overhead and good at ground level; she’s clever around the goals but can be just as good playing up the middle of the field as a winger, and being creative up there, as well.”
“Lauren is a 185cm tall ruck; aggressive and really jumps at the footy. Was probably the dominant ruck at the 18s Nationals this year.”
“Gabby is a skilful inside or outside midfielder who finds the footy and generally makes good decisions. Use the ball well.”
“A courageous midfielder or small defender. Really good overhead for her size. Great one-on-one and wins a lot of contests that way. Makes good decisions out of mid and defence and uses the ball really well.”
What’s at stake?
“From this game the Youth Girls All-Australian team will be named. The top age players (18 year olds) will be eligible to be drafted by the eight AFL clubs on October 12.
“Most of the 16 and 17 year olds from this match will go on to complete a year with the newly formed AFL Youth Girls National Academy.
“ They have taken Tahlia “up” to the exhibition game and so for Shaleise it’s about getting drafted. For the rest, it’s about being in the High Performance academy for a year and being draft ready for 2017.”
The Women’s All-Star Match is being broadcast live on 7mate from 7:00pm this Saturday