Starcevich to coach Queensland U18 girls

Former AFL premiership player Craig Starcevich has been named coach of the Queensland Under 18 Girls team.

Former AFL premiership player Craig Starcevich has been named coach of the Queensland Under 18 Girls team.

Starcevich played 144 games for Collingwood and the Brisbane Bears in an ten-year AFL career and was a member of the Magpies’ 1990 premiership team.

After his playing retirement in 1995, Starcevich was head of conditioning at the Brisbane Lions and a part of their triple-premiership success in the early 2000s.

He spent a year as St Kilda’s head of training services, before returning to Queensland in 2007 to take up the role of strength and conditioning coach with the Queensland Roar.

Starcevich said he was thrilled  to be taking the coaching reins at what is an exciting time for female participation.

“Female football is one of the fastest growing areas of our game and the girls deserve a program of equal quality to the boys, with a more elite level focus,” he said.

“I will be drawing on my coaching experience to help every player improve through the season, and produce strong results at the championships.”

Starcevich has familiarity with a number of the players in the side, having been a part of the selection committee for the team at last year’s state championships.

Members were selected from across Queensland, with a number travelling long distances to be a part of the team.

It is hoped that Starcevich’s appointment will help to build on Queensland’s success at youth girls level, with the side enjoying top-three finishes at the past two national championships.

AFL Talent and Academies Manager for QLD/NSW, Mark Browning, said the appointment of Starcevich was a part of creating a more defined talent pathway for women, as coaches and players.

“We wanted someone with AFL level experience to help mentor and develop that pathway for women,” Browning said.

“The selection process has improved to mirror the selection for the boys and we’ve had better talent ID, better selection and better preparation.

“Craig’s experience in the high performance area is going to be invaluable.”

Browning said it was crucial to provide girls with a tangible talent aspiration for attracting and retaining players.

“Everybody realises that Queensland competes very well with limited physical and financial resources,” he said.

“We want to up the ante and improve performance and player retention.

“It’s just as important to try and attract those better athletes across to AFL as well, and having something that they can touch and feel as an outcome helps to generate that excitement.

“It makes people want to be involved.”

The QLD U18 Girls team will compete in the National Youth Girls Championships in Canberra from May 3 to 8.

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