By Ellie Grounds
Queensland is hoping to make a statement at the 5th AFL Youth Girls National Championships, which kick off this weekend in Canberra.
Breeanna Brock, Female Programs Coordinator at AFL Queensland, believes the team, who came third last year, has what it takes to go head-to-head with a group of tough teams that includes last year’s champions, Vic Metro.
“We’re lucky enough to be in Pool A, so we’ll play Vic Country, Vic Metro and WA – the three hardest teams to play,” she said.
“They’ve done a long, hard training. They’re physically fit and ready to go, and now it’s just a matter of them putting everything together and kicking some butt out there.”
Brock credits newly appointed head coach Craig Starcevich’s steady approach and cool head with improving the team’s stability and confidence.
Check out our video chat with Beth Pinchin, Ruby Blair and Zoe Lattanzi ahead of the 2014 National Youth Girls Championships.
“The girls respect him a lot, and the way he has engaged with the girls and got them around as a team has been phenomenal,” she said.
“The girls at the moment feel they’re a long way ahead of where they were last year.
“They’re feeling like they’re ready for it, and I think they are all hoping to play well and be in with a chance of getting in to a grand final.”
Despite many strong Queensland players from last year ineligible for the 2014 Championships due to their age, Brock believes the eight returning players will successfully fill their shoes.
“It’s fantastic to see these girls really step it up, and now they’ve taken on that leadership role and they know what it takes to beat the teams we want to beat,” she said.
Brock is enthusiastic about several young players, including Tayla Harris, who dominated in the ruck last year.
“We’ve got Arianna Clarke, coming from the Gold Coast, playing probably at half back flank – very exciting young player,” she said.
“And we’re also looking for big things from Georgie Seanigar who plays out at the Darling Downs league.”
The 2014 Youth Girls National Championships will be played from May 3 to 8.