The AFL has announced the 2018 NAB AFL Women’s Academy squads, including eight Queenslanders in level one and two.
The complete intake of 44 players is split into two groups, the 16 year olds in level one and the 17 year olds in level two.
University of Queensland and Bakers Creek Tigers product Lauren Bella, Coorparoo’s Tahlia Hickie and Beenleigh’s Tori Groves-Little are all draft eligible next year and are set to benefit from the prestigious high-performance program.
Youngsters Tarni White from Coorparoo, Kitara Farrar (South Cairns Cutters), Lily Postlethwaite and Belle Dawes (Moreton Bay Lions) as well as Dee Heslop from Southport, were selected in the level one academy.
Adelaide Crows AFLW star Erin Phillips will join the academy as a high-performance coach, while AFL Women’s Female Talent Operations Manager and Western Bulldog Aasta O’Connor will oversee the program.
GWS’s Renee Forth and former Saint Ahmed Saad will also serve as mentors.
“The success of the inaugural Academy can be seen with 11 players being added to AFLW lists at the recent NAB AFL Women’s Draft,” said O’Connor.
“In the next 12 months we will be working to prepare the best young female talent for AFLW football.”
Players were selected following the 2017 AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships and will have access to athlete management systems, expert coaches, high-performance training camps and the opportunity to train with AFL clubs.
Former graduates of the program include recent Brisbane Lions AFLW draftees Ruby Blair, Arianna Clarke and Kalinda Howarth.
By Sean Melrose