Fans attending the NAB Challenge match between Brisbane and St Kilda at the Moreton Bay Central Sports Complex this Saturday will have the chance to see some of the most talented and exciting female players in the state.
In a match practice display, the under 18 youth girls squad will take to the field against the under 21 group from the AFL Queensland Academy.
The showcase will provide local fans with the opportunity to view a major part of the under 18 team that will represent Queensland in the national championships in Western Australia later this year.
Female High Performance Manager, Craig Starcevich, spoke of the importance of showcasing these events in conjunction with AFL matches.
“It’s an opportunity to have high level match practice and basically to let the girls know that they are able to be showcased on the same stage as major AFL events, which is really a big thing,” Starcevich said.
In a sign of the women’s programs strength, each player in the under 21 academy was previously involved in the youth girls squad.
“There are about 20 in that group that fit that age bracket and they have all been youth girls in the last three years that have come through the program,” he said.
Although it is a first hit out for the year, and most will be a little bit rusty, Starcevich believes the skill level will still be high.
“I think they will be quite surprised with the skill level that’s for sure, that’s the first thing that people find when they have a look at girls footy,” he said.
“We have some really athletic girls in this years 18’s group, particularly we have a lot of girls coming across from other sports.
“We have some track and field athletes, basketballers, futsal players, so we have got some really high quality athletic girls that could have played any number of sports that are now with us.”
There will even be some familiar faces running around.
“In the 21’s group there are a couple of girls there that have already played AFL matches,” Starcevich said.
“Emily Bates has already played for the Western Bulldogs, Ally Anderson has played for the Western Bulldogs, and Tayla Harris is going to have a run around as well and she has played for Melbourne.”
Following on from Saturday’s showcase, the youth girls will have one more trial match in two weeks time on the Gold Coast, where the North Queensland squad members will join them.
The decision will then be made on the final team to represent Queensland.
“At that point we will narrow down who the 27 girls are who will represent Queensland to go to Western Australia at the nationals,” Starcevich said.
“Our academy will still continue as a program throughout the year but there will be a more defined group of 27 that know they will be travelling with us and playing against other states in May.”
The women’s match practice will run from 11.45am until 1.00pm on the south oval.
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