State champs about opportunity for NQ

The Under 17 Youth Girls State Championships is about more than just winning for the North Queensland Northern Stars team. It’s about opportunity.

The Northern Stars team of 23 will include girls from Cape York and the Torres Strait Islands all the way to Cairns, representing the entire region.

“It’s good to have a team that recognises the region as a whole, instead of being segregated,’ Rick Hanlon, Program Manager at AFL Cape York said.

The state championships gives the players selected the chance to come together for the four-day carnival as a team, and see how they stack up against the states best.

“All this is about creating opportunity. Creating opportunity for our girls to be able to go to a state title, which is really important. The girls who live predominantly in Cape York and Torres Strait Islands miss out on a lot of opportunity,” Hanlon said.

‘There isn’t a lot of contact for female sports, so having the AFL provide an opportunity for the girls out there is highly regarded by the communities and really appreciated.”

It also means the girls can jump on the big bird and experience Brisbane for a few days; something that a few haven’t done before.

“Some of our girls probably haven’t been on a plane of that size before. The opportunity to experience that, to go to the city, to be in a carnival with 11 other sides involved is a fantastic opportunity and one that they will love,’ he said.

The team itself was picked after two trials were held.

“We ran two separate programs. Cairns ran a selection program where they picked 11 girls, and we went out into the Cape and the Torres, and ran two camps to select another 12 girls,” Hanlon said.

“We selected the girls through some skill exercises and game testing, and then were all connected up to get down to Brisbane.”

With the majority of Northern Stars Indigenous, the team will showcase the diversity in the region, and in the game.

When the ball is bounced, the Northern Stars will mean business, and Hanlon is confident they will put on a good show.

“I’m pretty confident they will be competitive. There’s one thing you can be sure of, they will be tough, and they will have a crack,” he said.

Their first game is 6:00pm tonight when they take on the Gold Coast.

By Andrew Wiles

Our Supporters