Over the weekend eight talented junior female athletes travelled to cairns to participate in the Girls Youth Under 16 State AFL Championships.

The girls having no prior Australian rules experience approached a new and trying environment. Talent from across the state and country headed to cairns to fight it out for the championship. Teams stretching from Cape York as south as the Gold coast and west to Toowoomba, battled it out in tough tropical conditions. The eight Townsville girls joined a combined North Queensland side with 14 Cairns players.

The North Queensland Lions coached by Jo Butland and Matthew Palmer struggled in the opening game with their raw skills and knowledge of the game, unfortunately going down too soon to be carnival finalist’s Southern Stars. After a few helpful hints from both Matthew and Jo the girls continued the carnival by grabbing their first win against the Cape York Crusaders. The Lions came out victors in a nail biting game by a margin of 4 points. Townsville star Hannah Brown was controlling the midfield with Katelyn Lucey and Morgan Osborne creating a fast running option for the Lions as Taneisha Devene killed the opposition on the wing with her hard attack on the football.

The Lions unfortunately lost some key players in their third contest against the Brisbane Flames.  A Cairns teammate was injured painfully in the second quarter which saw a number of girls on both teams shaken up as the match had to be delayed for some time. The injury caused the girls to lose focus a bit and left a hole in the Lions defence and confidence. Both Brisbane flames and the Lions decided to continue the game after Cecilia had left the ground after an hour delay. Courage by both teams fought the game out not for a result but to get on with playing football and keeping each other’s confidence on the field up.

After an action packed two days the girls continued on with their final game against rival’s Central Queensland in the last day of action. In pouring rain the lions played to their strengths scoring goal for goal with the Central Coast then unfortunately the Central Coast ran away with a strong victory. Hannah brown who gathered 10 possessions by half time ran the game out well also with Katelyn Lucey and Morgan Osborne running and tackling hard. The Lions should be proud of their efforts and walked off smiling knowing they gave the game a red hot crack.

After speaking with coach Matthew Palmer he said “The girls have transformed into young talented AFL players after going into their first contest very inexperienced. The amount of talent across the Lions has excelled in the carnival both on and off the field. The girls from both Townsville and Cairns represented their cities very well”. Townsville had one player selected in the Queensland all-stars team, given the chance to possibly be selected in the under 18 nationals championships in 2012. Hannah Brown represented the north Queensland Lions in the state team.  Congratulations to all the Townsville girls that travelled up to the championships it was a great weekend.

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