By Ant Wingard @AntWingard
The future is bright for female football in Queensland.
Last night, six Queenslanders were awarded an All Australian guernsey after starring in the maroon at the NAB AFL Women’s U18 National Championships and again in the NAB Under 18 All Star Game in Adelaide.
The half dozen selections in the All Australian team represent a best ever result for Queensland at the female Under 18 level.
AFL Queensland Female High-Performance Manager Craig Starcevich was delighted by the record number of Queenslanders in the side.
“This is an outstanding result for Queensland and a great reflection of the strength of our club competitions and the work done by the SUNs and Lions Academies,” Starcevich told aflq.com.au.
“By this time next year, the Gold Coast Suns will be joining Brisbane in building lists for the 2020 AFLW season. There has never been a more exciting time to be a female AFL player in Queensland.”
Bond University ruckman Lauren Bella, University of Queensland midfielder Nat Grider and Wilston Grange midfielder Jacqui Yorston headline the six Queenslanders to be awarded their All Australian guernsey at Adelaide Oval on Friday night.
The trio had already been nominated for the NAB AFL Women’s Draft Combine early next month and join fellow Queenslanders Lily Postlethwaite (Moreton Bay), Belle Dawes (Wilston Grange) and Serene Watson (Bond University) to earn All Australian caps.
— Craig Starcevich (@CraigStarcevich) August 31, 2018
The group of six all featured for the All Stars alongside fellow Queensland state representatives Dee Heslop, Tori Groves-Little and Kitara Farrar in the side’s loss to a combined Victoria side in the All Australian representative game.
Postlewaite was perhaps the pick of the Queenslanders in the game, finishing with 12 disposals, three clearances and a team high six tackles.
Lauren Bella was unrivalled in the ruck for the All Stars with a game-high 25 hit outs in a duel with Victoria’s Rene Caris.
Charlotte Hammans was her usual crafty self across half forward with nine disposals and an equal team high three inside 50s, while pair Yorston and Grider didn’t shy away from the contest with three and five tackles apiece.
Having been named in the All Australian team, the focus now shifts toward the NAB AFL Under 18 Draft where the Brisbane Lions hold eight selections and look to bolster their ranks with the plethora of talent available after back to back Grand Final appearances.
Should they get the call at the draft, Queensland’s Under 18 contingent already boast big game experience.
During the national championships earlier this year, Queensland overcame the odds to beat Victoria Metro for the first time in state representative history.
The NAB AFLW Draft will take place on October 23 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, with the first selection being announced as 12:00pm AEDT.
Last year, Sophie Conway, Emma Pittman, Jordan Zanchetta and Ariana Clarke all emerged from the draft to cement themselves in the Brisbane Lions outfit for their second season in the competition.