2021 AFLW U17 Championships preview: Northern Territory

REPRESENTATIVE action is back on the field for the next generation of aspiring AFL Women’s footballers. The Under 17 All-Star games in Northern Territory and Queensland will give staff, fans and recruiters alike a chance to see players who are draft-eligible in the coming years face-off in a battle of the best of the best. In this preview we take a look at the Northern Territory clash which kicks off at 5pm today AEST (4:30pm ACST).

>> Ponter claims impressive win in NT All-Stars match

As in past years, the two sides are named Team Ponter and Team Baird after two young stars of the AFL Women’s in Danielle Ponter (Adelaide) and Janet Baird (Gold Coast) who are successful graduates of the Northern Territory pathway. The sides will face off twice as part of the exhibition series to showcase future talent. Unlike many other states, the Northern Territory has a lot of long-term draft hopefuls, with draft eligibility ranging from 2022 (2004-born players) to 2026 (2008-born players).

As the majority of the talented NT players run around in the Northern Territory Football League (NTFL) Women’s competitions, they are largely unknown quantities with limited footage, but always provide plenty of eye-catching moments. Last year Baird played in this game – now ironically for Team Ponter – and her performance earned her a spot on Gold Coast’s list. From a 2022 AFLW Draft perspective, both teams have just three draft-eligible players for next year, meaning the exhibition will be largely for future drafts.

The 2004-born players on Team Ponter are Hayley Maher, Tahnee McLaughlin and Brylee Kerrin, whilst for Team Baird, the draft eligible players are Erini Gikas, Siniva Sa’anga and Ciaralii Parnell. Whilst all six have earned their place in the sides for the competition, another 2004-born NT prospect in J’Noemi Anderson who represented the Allies this year as the sole bottom-age NT talent in that side, will run out for Gold Coast Suns Academy in the Queensland Academy game.

For the Northern Territory Academy, it is based in two regions of Darwin and Alice Springs, with the former having 30 representatives in the match, and the latter having 23. In terms of the NTFL breakdown, Waratah and Tracy Village have the most with six apiece, whilst Southern Districts (five), and St Mary’s and Nightcliff (four apiece) have the next most representatives. From Alice Springs, Rovers will have the most representatives of any side by far, with a whopping 12 players across the two teams. Alkamilya has six representatives , whilst Pioneer (four) and West (one) round out the entire 23 players.

Grace Whittaker is a Southern Districts product who will represent Team Baird this year, and a player who caught the eye in last year’s showcase match. Whittaker has eye-catching athleticism and teamed up well with Annabel Kievit who will join Anderson in the Queensland game. Most remarkably, there are two players on Team Baird who are 2008-born talents and playing four years above their age group. The recently turned 13-year-olds are Peta Wilson and Acacia Tipene who have shown enough talent for their age to earn the call-up. Both games across the weekend will be ones to watch, not just for next year’s AFLW Draft, but for future ones as well.

AFLW U17S GAME LINK

Team: Ponter
Coach: Rhiannon Busch
Team Manager: Elise Ralston

# NAME SURNAME DOB STATE/ ACADEMY/ REGION LOCAL CLUB / SCHOOL
1 REGAN MOLDRICH 13/06/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Alkamilya FC
2 CHLOE LAI 13/06/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Waratah FC
3 MYA TOMMY 10/03/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Pioneer FC
10 HAYLEY MAHER 5/03/2004 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Alkamilya FC
11 TAHNEE MCLAUGHLIN 7/10/2004 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Alkamilya FC
12 LESHAYE STEWART 27/08/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers Football Club
13 LEKISHA NELSON 25/11/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers Football Club
14 SOPHIE MADDALOZZO 4/11/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Waratah FC
15 RAHNI TILLER 20/05/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Tracy Village FC
16 BELLA FOSTER 1/12/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Pioneer FC
17 LEXIE CAGNEY 9/11/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Wanderers FC
19 BRYLEE KERRIN 26/12/2004 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers Football Club
20 RANIA SHELFORD 19/03/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Alkamilya FC
21 TOBY BLOOMFIELD 1/12/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers Football Club
22 KALLIOPI GIKAS 28/12/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin St Mary’s FC
23 TSHARNI GRAHAM 28/10/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Palmerston FC
25 BROOKLYN TARRANT 22/02/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Southern Districts FC
26 EMMA CLIFTON 22/02/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Nightcliff FC
27 ALYSSA CARUANA 1/09/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Nightcliff FC
28 GRACE WHITTAKER 30/12/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Southern Districts FC
29 ARMANI FRANCOIS 20/04/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers Football Club
30 KENISHA MUNYARRYUN 8/09/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Tracy Village FC
31 KIERRA ZERAFA 10/11/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Waratah FC
28 GRACE WHITTAKER 30/12/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Southern Districts FC
29 ARMANI FRANCOIS 20/04/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers Football Club
30 KENISHA MUNYARRYUN 8/09/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Tracy Village FC
31 KIERRA ZERAFA 10/11/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Waratah FC

Team: Baird
Coach: Darren Pfeiffer
Team Manager: Elise Ralston

# NAME SURNAME DOB STATE/ACADEMY/REGION LOCAL CLUB / SCHOOL
1 THEA WISCHUSEN 17/03/2004 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers FC
2 SARAH LAI 27/04/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Waratah FC
3 GRACIE BUSUTTIL 14/07/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Southern Districts FC
4 IMOGEN FOXCHAFFER 28/12/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Nightcliff FC
5 TANEISHA SWAN 22/01/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Alkamilya FC
6 LAHNI GILBY 27/01/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs West FC
7 ACACIA TIPENE 22/07/2008 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Pioneer FC
8 SYRAI LANSEN 27/01/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers FC
10 MIKAYLA BALDWIN 9/06/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Palmerston FC
11 CHARLOTTE BRADY 7/10/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Palmerston FC
12 LAVINAH POLLO 13/06/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Tracy Village FC
14 KYANNE CAMPBELL 13/01/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers FC
15 DANIKA MCDONALD 6/06/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers FC
16 ERINI GIKAS 16/10/2004 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin St Mary’s FC
17 MARTINA GUNTHER-OLIVER 1/04/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Nightcliff FC
18 AMBER WUNUNGMURRA 17/07/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Tracy Village FC
20 MARYSHAE GREEN 1/12/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Alkamilya FC
24 EMMA STARK 2/01/2006 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin St Mary’s FC
25 LATINA CAGNEY 2/10/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Wanderers FC
26 SINIVA SA’ANGA 18/02/2004 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers FC
27 ELLA FITZ 22/10/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Pioneer FC
29 PETA WILSON 28/04/2008 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers FC
31 CIARALII PARNELL 31/12/2004 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin St Mary’s FC
28 GRACE WHITTAKER 30/12/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Southern Districts FC
29 ARMANI FRANCOIS 20/04/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Alice Springs Rovers Football Club
30 KENISHA MUNYARRYUN 8/09/2007 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Tracy Village FC
31 KIERRA ZERAFA 10/11/2005 NT / NT Thunder Academy / Darwin Waratah FC

Picture credit: Aaron Black/AFL Photos

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