By Grant Hitzman
Yeronga’s Jade Ransfield and Rockhampton’s Hannah Davidson have been selected to represent Australia in the 2014 New Zealand Tour for Youth Girls.
This is the second year that a Youth Girls team will travel to New Zealand, with the focus on leadership opportunities and continuing a strong partnership between New Zealand and the AFL.
The two Queensland teenagers were chosen from the 22 girls who attended the High Performance Academy camp in January. Players were chosen on criteria including outstanding leadership, football participation, skill level and contribution to their club, league or state.
AFL Queensland Female Programs Coordinator, Breanna Brock said the trip would encourage the girls to develop not just as players, but also as people.
“The playing side is definitely important, but there is much more to the trip than just running around and kicking a footy,” Brock said.
“Working with the Kahu girls is going to be a great lesson and being independent away from home will be a whole new challenge.
“I look at some of the girls who went last year and how they came back with much better leadership skills, the ability to have their opinion heard and understanding why it is important to give back – that’s where the value is for me.”
Ransfield and Davidson stood above the pack at the High Performance Academy and are two very capable picks to represent Queensland and Australia on the tour.
Ransfield is classy player who is best utilised across the half-forward flank, as a link up forward or in a makeshift centre-half forward role.
The Calamvale junior is relentless in defence, works hard to get the footy and is always one step ahead of her opponent.
Davidson is a crafty halfback flanker who shows an amazing amount of courage in game situations, is very reliable by foot and always puts her body on the line.
The Panthers’ star has one of the best tackling techniques in the business and has a first-rate defensive brain.
The budding teenagers both competed at the National Championships in Canberra earlier in the year, with Brock praising the key roles the girls played to earn Queensland a hard earned third placed finish.
“Both the girls were very consistent, reliable and hardworking during the Championships and they put their body on the line in every game,” Brock said.
“Hannah had 19 tackles for the tournament which was one of the highest figures amongst the squad and Jade displayed safe hands, a great work ethic and fantastic defensive pressure.”
Ransfield and Davidson will travel to Auckland in October where they will play two 9-a-side games against the New Zealand Kahus as well as further develop their leadership abilities, ambassadorial practice, match preparation, decision making, problem solving and time management skills.
The tour will take place in partnership with the VAFA U18s Boys’ tour and AFL New Zealand.