DESPITE losing its first two matches in the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, Queensland has a promising list of players that are likely to perform well in the carnival. We took a look at the side’s key players and its upcoming fixture ahead of round two of the National Championships on the Gold Coast.
Heslop was named best-on-ground in both Queensland’s matches against Western Australia in round one of the Championships. At just 16 years of age, she is already showing the maturity of a senior player with some solid football across the first two games. Heslop is a member of the Gold Coast Suns Academy and plays for the Gold Coast Suns in the AFLW Winter Series, which gives her some key experience ahead of the National Championships.
Lauren Bella is the vice-captain of the Queensland side and is one of the tallest players in the Championships. She is a Bond University student who gave up a promising netball career to devote her time to football. Bella also plays for the Gold Coast Suns in the AFLW Winter Series and Bond in the QWAFL. She is a part of the Gold Coast Suns Academy and will bring that experience to the Under 18 Championships. Originally from Mackay, Bella has moved to Bond to pursue her football career further and it has paid dividends, as she was the side’s MVP last year and earned a spot in the All Australian team.
Postlethwaite is a member of the AFLW Academy and was named second best in Queensland’s first game against Western Australia. She was an impressive performer for Queensland in last year’s championships, and was named in the Brisbane Lions Academy Youth squad. She has been shining in the game since she was as young as 15, as she was named in the All Australian side at that age. Postlethwaite is an exciting midfielder who has also represented her state at the School Sport Australia National AFL Championships.
Like Postlethwaite, Tori Grove-Little is also a member of the AFLW Academy. The 17 year-old hails from Coorparoo and just three years ago, she was named as the joint MVP and All Australian at the 2015 Under 15 National Schoolgirls Championships. Groves-Little plays for the Gold Coast Suns in the AFLW Winter Series, and is also a member of their Academy, meaning that she gets to develop her football at two different football academies. This will prove invaluable as she looks to help her side record a win in the tournament.
Kitara Farrar is a South Cairns local who has found herself in the AFLW Academy on the back of some stellar form for her local side. Farrar took out the South Cairns Best and Fairest, Rising Star and best-on-ground in her side’s grand final win. She has had a good start to this year’s Championships, as she was named amongst the best in Queensland’s narrow three-point loss against Western Australia.
Farquharson is the youngest player in the side, but this has not seemed to faze the 16 year-old, who has got her Nationals campaign to a good start. She was named amongst the best in both of Queensland’s first-round matches against Western Australia and comes into the competition with an impressive array of accolades next to her name. In 2017, she was awarded the MVP and Player of the Series accolades for her efforts in U16 Queensland Academy Championships. In the previous year, she was named as the co-captain of the Queensland All Nations team at the AFL National Diversity Championships and was selected for the Australian Medleys team.
Game 1: vs. Victoria Country
Monday July 9 at Metricon Stadium
An intriguing battle will be set up when 2017 All Australian, Lauren Bella goes up against AFLW Academy member, Rene Caris. Bella is four centimetres taller than Caris and has a netball background that could hold her in good stead in this match. It will be exciting to see the likes of Lily Postlethwaite go head-to-head against Country stars such as Tyla Hanks, Nina Morrison and Olivia Purcell, who have been tearing it up at the TAC Cup Girls level.
Game 2: vs. Victoria Metro
Wednesday July 11 at Broadbeach
Plenty of young talent will be on display here as Zimmorlei Farquharson and Dee Heslop will get to showcase their skills against some of Victoria’s finest female footballers. Young guns, Gabby Newton and Isabella Grant have already showed plenty of promise in the big ‘V’ but could be challenged by the speed and excitement that the Queensland duo can demonstrate.
Game 3: vs. Eastern Allies
Friday July 13 at Bond University
The Queensland side will come up against two states full of female talent in this match but some players will feel right at home. Georgia Eller, Charlotte Hammans, Serene Watson, Emmii-Lee Zanker-Close, Taylor Smith and Lauren Bella all play for Bond and are likely to know the ground well. Hammans has already scored a goal in each of her outings for Queensland so far in the tournament and will be keen to get some more majors on the board. However, Eastern Allies defender, Eloise Ashley-Cooper will be hard to get past on the day, thanks to her TAC Cup Girls and state representative experience.