Tag: AFLW Under 18 Championships

Watson thrives on Aussie rules aggression

ORIGINALLY hailing from the rugby league heartland of Sydney, Serene Watson grew up trying her hand in multiple sporting codes. She was “born and bred” through rugby league, went on to find herself fouled out in her attempts at basketball, but found a true home for her competitive spirit on the football field. It has been a steady rise from her first experience with the oblong ball, since.

“(I love) the aggressiveness,” Watson said of Australian rules football. “I used to play basketball and I used to get called off for a lot of aggressive things so I was like ‘Oh, it’s a bit easier to do it on the footy field. “My brother started playing footy around 2010 when we first moved up (to Queensland) from Sydney… I just went and supported. “The girls (team) coach came up to me and asked me to play local footy and then from there it just went uphill, I started getting into rep teams and it just escalated from there.”

The Gold Coast SUNS Academy product has become a key member of those representative sides in her top-age year, donning the famous Maroon jumper in her adopted home state during July’s AFL Women’s Under-18 National Championships. Just pulling on the Queensland colours is something Watson said has been an “honour”, while doubling as an opportunity to showcase her strengths.

“You don’t really get to do it much and not many girls get to do it at all but it’s such an honour to represent Queensland, especially for AFL,” Watson said during the camp. “(The camp) has been really good, all the girls have bonded really well even though we (lost) I think the camp’s been really good and we’ve all enjoyed it.

“It’s different because there’s obviously Brisbane Lions Academy and SUNS Academy (players) so it’s harder to jell but I think we’re learning because we all know each other and we realise how we play now… it’s getting better and definitely getting easier.”

“(My strength is) my rebounding off the half-back because I’m a backline player… just getting the ball out if it comes in, that’s probably one of my biggest assets.”

Watson’s best was on full display in Queensland’s heavy Round 3 carnival loss to Vic Country, where she stood tall in an under-siege defence to collect a team-high 21 disposals and seven rebound 50s. Despite finding a home in the back six, her selection of idols hints at a move further afield.

Patrick Cripps, just watching him play as a tall midfielder – that’s probably what I want to be like… he’s skilful and just such a talented player,” Watson said. “If not him, then probably someone like Leah Kaslar or Shannon Campbell from the Brisbane Lions… Leah and Shannon, they’re just insane. “They just go hard at the footy and still have skills so that’s why I look up to them.”

With her inspirations setting the bar high, in terms of aspirations, Watson’s ultimate goal is clear.

“I think for everyone it’s the AFL Women’s draft, but just getting something out of each camp and playing footy because you love it is probably the biggest thing,” Watson said.

Prespakis overcomes initial pressure for impressive top-age year

THERE are plenty of talented players who have followed the Youth Girls pathways, but the name Madison Prespakis is one that has been frequently mentioned within the pathways. With accolades that include TAC Cup Girls Best and Fairest, two-time Vic Metro Most Valuable Player, joint overall Most Valuable Player at the National Under 18 Championships and Calder Cannons Best and Fairest – all of that coming in the past 18 months, Prespakis is building a CV that is equal to any junior footballer, boy or girl. But just where did it all begin for the talented Cannons captain?

“It all really started when I was about four years old,” Prespakis said. “I started playing Auskick and I was always going down there and hanging out with all the boys and some of the girls who were playing. “I started from there and then when I was seven, I went and started playing Under 9s for Romsey Football Club with the boys and I think my dad really got me into footy from there. “He was a big footballer when he was young and he loved footy and I think the pathway I’m going, I’m trying to be that one step ahead of him. “I think my dad’s had the biggest influence on me and after starting Auskick and junior footy I just haven’t looked back, I’m just looking ahead to future now.”

With the passion for football always around her in the household, Prespakis said there were very few moments where she was not analysing some part of her footballing life.

“There’s not really that describes football to me, it’s kind of everything to me really,” she said. “When I go to school in the morning and all that, I don’t think about anything else throughout the day, I just think about what I’m going to do at footy training tonight and who we’re playing on the weekend and things like that. “For me, I just love footy and there’s nothing that would not make me not love it.”

In the two years of the TAC Cup Girls, Prespakis has experienced both the highs of a premiership, and the rebuilding stage in 2018, leading a number of talented bottom-agers this season.

“It’s been a lot different having a younger side and obviously being the top-age, one of the top-age girls, for me, I’ve found it a little bit hard at the start of the year,” Prespakis said. “I felt a little bit of pressure at the start of the year because we were such a young side, but to get the opportunity to captain the girls, I really took on board and I really took that opportunity well and for those girls I think for them, to have a role model in myself and a few other of the top-age girls was something for them really special to have for the first year so when they go on they can hopefully be role models to younger girls. “I think as well, not so much on-field, but off-field having a younger side the girls just gelled better. “Everyone was friends and as soon as we got onto the field, everyone just wanted to improve and hopefully by the end of the year we’d win a few games. “By the end of the year we did, we showed improvement. “We did win two games overall, but we did bring it up to top sides and I think the girls are really proud of themselves throughout the year. “Obviously we didn’t get wins on the scoreboard, but we got individual wins as a team, so that was the highlight.”

Prespakis has as much humility as she does natural talent, and for the tough onballer, winning the Vic Metro MVP in her bottom-age year was a learning curve in regards to external noise.

“Yeah for me, obviously I wasn’t expecting awards like that to be won at Nationals last year, I wasn’t going into that thinking that,” Prespakis said. “Then coming out of that, there was a lot of pressure I found on myself. “I did have to try and deal with it after a while because there was a lot of speculation in the media and that sort of stuff, so I unfollowed a lot of pages to get away from that because it was putting a lot of stress on me in my pre-season and how I have to perform this year. “So going into Nationals there has been that bit of speculation as well, coming off with that award last year, but like I said I just don’t put pressure on myself. “I don’t think about that stuff, i just think about the team things.”

The Vic Metro captain had put expectations to the back of her mind ahead of this year’s AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, so much so she was just taking it one step at a time.

“(The) goal this year is probably hopefully make the squad,” Prespakis said. “Just wait for that to be announced, and if so, head off to Gold Coast and then just play good footy. “(I) don’t really put too much pressure on myself or anything like that, just play good footy.”

Unsurprisingly, Prespakis did more than just make the squad, she shared the captaincy, and took out both the Vic Metro and tournament MVP awards, standing out across the midfield and going forward when required. Across all levels, Prespakis felt more prepared for what was coming, as did the other girls on her respective teams.

“It’s definitely lifted,” Prespakis said. “I remember the last few years it’s definitely lifted heaps. “The girls know what to expect when they come into pre-season and they know how to deal with pre-season, get themselves fit and right for the games. “Even VFL and all that, the girls are just getting better every year and the standard’s just lifting and lifting, it’s really good for female footy.”

Prespakis also stood out against the senior players in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, learning a lot at Melbourne Uni and being named in the best every game she played.

“I loved it, something I can’t wait to do again,” she said. “I’ve trained with them for the last couple of years in that team has been great. “Learning off some of the best like Emma Kearney, Ellie Blackburn, all those sorts of girls has helped me be a better footballer. “I think I adapted well to the bigger bodies, but definitely a lot of room for improvement but I can’t wait to keep playing senior footy.”

Last season the Calder Cannons had three players drafted – Chloe Molloy, Monique Conti and Sarah Dargan – all of whom tasted AFL Women’s action in season 2018, with Molloy taking out the Rising Star award, while Conti was best on ground in the grand final.

“I definitely went to a few games and watched either Sarah, Chloe or Monique play to support them after playing with them for a few years,” Prespakis said. “Watching them for a few years, it was just crazy to think I was playing with them last year and look where they are, playing AFLW. “I definitely speak to Monique more about the way she balances. “I just watch the way she balances both her basketball and footy and she did Year 12 last year as well. “If she can do it, then I suppose I can balance it to, she’s a good athlete and someone that I look up to in that perspective.”

Prespakis described her key strengths as her power through stoppages and her kicking – something that was evident in season 2018 across all competitions.

“Some of my strengths are my actual strength, I’m a pretty powerful player, I’ve got a lot of strength in me,” Prespakis said. “I work hard, I like to think i work hard running both ways, doing anything to lift the team. “Room for improvement obviously just keep working on fitness, overall fitness, getting myself right for every game, recovering right. “Just keep improving that the coaches say, but definitely a strength for me is my disposal and power through packs.”

Like most girls, Prepakis has balanced her football with study and work, something she has got the hang of the past few years. With October’s National AFL Women’s Draft approaching, Prespakis is hoping to live out her ultimate dream.

“I was actually talking to my parents about it and ever since I was a little girl, I said I wanted to play AFL footy and now that us girls have that pathway, we have that spot in AFL footy, it’s definitely a dream and if my name does get called out on the draft day, it will probably be the most overwhelming thing,” Prespakis said. “I will just be so excited for a start.”

Bate kicking goals at all levels

HOLLY Bate has never really listened to popular opinion. If she had, she might never have joined Prahran and kick-started a football career that would see her take out the TAC Cup Girls Leading Goalkicker Award in her top-age year. Looking back, Bate is glad she took the chance on running around with the boys.

“Well I have a twin brother and it was about Under 9s and he played his first game of footy at Prahran junior footy club,” Bate said. “I went to watch and I was like ‘that’s so cool, like ‘I really want to play’, but I was the only girl and would be the only girl on the team so I was like ‘I can’t really play’. “I didn’t really think much of it, but everyone else was like ‘it’s a bit weird’ and so I was like ‘nup I want to play’ so I just joined up and was playing with the boys and I got along really well with the boys so it was an easy transition to start playing.”

The Sandringham Dragons forward burst onto the scene in 2018 when she booted 12 goals in two games against Western Jets and Bendigo Pioneers and snatched the leading goalkicker award.

“I didn’t really think much of it,” Bate said. “It kinda just happened, I didn’t really set out to try and win the goal kicking. “I think those few games we played at Trevor Barker were pretty handy. “I didn’t really celebrate it, I must say.”

Bate believed it took until later in the season for her to rise up above the level she had admittedly been at for some time, but is glad she did, enjoying her football on the way to representing Vic Metro at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships.

“I found that I came into it at a level I’d been at for a while now at the end of the last season,” Bate said. “I felt I had stepped up a bit, had improved. “I learned how to play forward at a more complex level. “It was quite enjoyable.”

Speaking of the championships, Bate was thrilled to run out representing her state alongside so many other talented players.

“It’s pretty full on,” she said. “I’ve never properly done this before. “It’s more elite than anything I’ve done, but it’s really good. I love it.”

Like so many others, Bate has noticed a definite standard increase amongst the competition describing the TAC Cup Girls as having “improved out of sight”. Now the Sandringham Dragons teenager hopes to keep playing at the highest possible level, following a newly found dream of playing AFL Women’s.

“(It’s) not always (been my dream to be drafted), because I never thought women’s footy would be a thing in my career,” Bate said. “Now it’s got going, I’m definitely playing now.”

Undecided about what she wants to do in her career just yet, she hopes to go to university once her Year 12 studies are over, something she has learnt to balance.

“Doing Year 12 it’s pretty busy at the moment, it’s very full on, but I’ve found ways to balance it all out,” she said.

Aside from the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, Bate has also tasted senior football with the Southern Saints in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition, kicking a goal on debut and continuing her passion of playing as high as possible in the football pathway.

Young leader tackles challenges head-on

WEST Australian, Shannon Whale knows how to deal with fresh challenges. Since starting her football career at Pinjarra Tigers, Whale has played for four local clubs, captaining two of them, and winning two flags in the process. Her story, which includes making the cross-country trek to Victoria in search of improvement – is one of a teenager who has adapted to change. Now, in her top-age year, Whale is hoping all her hard work can pay off with a spot on an AFL Women’s list.

“I started my football down in Pinjarra Tigers,” Whale said. “I ended up being captain for it as well. “We won the premiership, and then the next year I was asked to join Peel Thunderbirds where I played there for that year. “Then we got to the premiership and won that.”

Determined to improve further, the West Australian teenager found an opportunity. It would mean a lot of travel and dedication, but it was an opportunity that was too good to pass up. 

“Mum found a site called Rookie Me and went and I did a bit of training with Rookie Me,” she said. “They moved to Melbourne … and I went there four times a year and then after Peel Thunderbirds, I moved to East Perth just to get away from it a bit. “I played half a year there and then due to family stuff I had to move to South Fremantle which was closer to home, less of a travel. “The next year I went to Rookie Me again, got more training, a lot more. “It helped so much, Robbie Campbell and ‘Goughy’ (Lachlan Gough) and all of them, they’re just so good. “It’s a great thing; Rookie Me is so good.”

Whale is still at South Fremantle this year, but is now captain of the side. She earned a place in the West Australian team for the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, playing an impressive opening game before fracturing a small part in her right wrist early in the second match, ending her carnival. Whale said it was a great experience to play against the most talented players in the country, and enjoyed tackling Vic Metro on Metricon Stadium.

“It was a bit harder because they were a lot taller than us,” she said. “But it was good to compete in something that was so hard. “They put up a good fight, obviously we lost, but not by much (eight points). “It was good to be able to be in it, knowing what the next step is going to be, how hard it’s going to be, but it’s just working towards it and having fun while you do it.”

Whale said the enjoyment she gained out of playing football was something special and always looked forward to going to training.

“It’s just fun,” she said. “Doing something you love every weekend and being able to take it further into a career. “It’s just enjoyable, every part of it’s enjoyable. “I actually love going to training because your friends are there as well and you’re all doing something you love and it’s great.”

The full pathway for young girls to transition into a national competition is something that Whale is glad has arrived and has her even more determined to play at the highest level.

“I’m actually quite happy that it’s come up and it’s still rising because it’s something that I can work towards and hopefully I’ll get in one day,” she said. “It’s just a good thing for all the young girls to start, knowing that there’s something in the end of their career for them to do.”

According to Whale, her coaches have been impressed with her ability to read the play, and position herself in marking situations. She was able to use these strengths when playing in defence at the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. But it also gave her a new improvement to focus on.

“I want to get more into it,” Whale said. “At the moment I’m playing backline so I don’t really get much touch of the ball unless it’s down there a lot. “But I’m always working towards trying to keep my player out of it.”

As for her ultimate goal?

“Obviously I want to get drafted into a team, if that doesn’t work then well I want to do something with coaching,” Whale said. “Then help everyone out, all the little kids out.”

Whale returned to South Fremantle in their preliminary final extra time loss to East Fremantle, managing to play the one game since her injury before the end of the season.

AFLW Under 18 Championships reviews: Queensland

WITH the second most All Australian squad members behind the Victorian teams, Queensland should be proud of its efforts during the AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships. The side made history by becoming the first Queensland side to defeat a Victorian side, which rewarded them for their high work ethic during the carnival.

 

Key players:

Lily Postlethwaite

Postlethwaite was named best-on-ground in each game on the Gold Coast by her coaches. This was thanks to her swift ball movement in the midfield and excellent run and carry. Her kicks were long and penetrating while her hands to players on the outside started a chain reaction of forward movement. She was a clever player who knew how to create scoring opportunities and rack up plenty of the ball.

Zimmorlei Farquharson

One of the most exciting players in the Queensland outfit, Farquharson provided a real sense of X-factor up forward for her side. She displayed strong hands throughout the tournament and kicked the ball with precision, creating many forward thrusts.

Natalie Grider

The Queensland captain displayed an incredible work ethic throughout the tournament and was named as Queensland’s Most Valuable Player. Grider’s strong hands in the back half were vital for her side, as it allowed her teammates to set up and penetrate the ball forward. Grider also laid some strong tackles, highlighting her defensive knowledge.

Ellie Hampson

Hampson’s agility was second to none as she had the ability to evade two or more opponents to get the ball forward for her side. She was exciting at her damaging best where she would give opponents no opportunity to lay a hand on her. She was able to move the ball quickly and with ease, thanks to her long and penetrating kicks.

Dee Heslop

Another player who featured among the best players for Queensland many times, Heslop was a key player for her side. She too was able to move the ball swiftly both by hand and by foot. Heslop displayed a high work ethic throughout the tournament and deserved to be rewarded for her efforts with a spot in the All Australian squad.

Tori Groves-Little

Groves-Little was one of the most aggressive tacklers in the competition, laying tackle after tackle to stop opponents in their tracks. She was prolific through the middle of the ground, taking strong grabs and using quick, clean hands to get the ball forward. Groves-Little was also able to display great run and carry by finding space and backing her speed to get it forward.

Isabel Dawes

A player who just loved to find the goals, Dawes was quite damaging up forward when she was at her best. She would not only kick goals but would create scoring opportunities with her precise kicks and good positioning to take strong marks. Dawes always buzzed around the contests, pestering her opponents with her constant hunger to win the ball.

Lauren Bella

Bella was a huge reason why the Queensland midfielders were able to excel in this tournament. Her taps in the ruck allowed them to clear the ball out of congestion, which was crucial to creating quick forward thrusts. Her impact was also felt around the ground with her strong and clean hands.

Charlotte Hammans

Hammans was Queensland’s leading goal kicker with four goals from five games. She always presented well up forward, making good leads to the footy and taking strong grabs. Hammans was able to use good bodywork to position herself well inside 50 and worked up and down the ground to ensure her impact was felt.

 

RESULTS:

Monday July 9

QUEENSLAND 1.2 | 1.2 | 1.3 | 1.5 (11)
VIC COUNTRY 1.2 | 5.5 | 7.6 | 10.7 (67)

GOALS:
Queensland: Dee Heslop.
Vic Country: Lucy McEvoy 5, Julia Harvey 2, Tyla Hanks, Rene Caris, Nina Morrison.

ADC BEST:
Queensland: Zimmorlei Farquharson, Ellie Hampson, Lily Postlethwaite, Kitara Farrar, Natalie Grider, Dee Heslop.
Vic Country: Lucy McEvoy, Nina Morrison, Rebecca Webster, Julia Harvey, Rene Caris, Olivia Purcell.

 

Wednesday July 11

QUEENSLAND 0.0 | 2.0 | 2.2 | 4.3 (27)
VIC METRO 0.1 | 1.1 | 1.1 | 3.1 (19)

GOALS:
Queensland: Zimmorlei Farquharson 2, Charlotte Hammans, Isabel Dawes.
Vic Metro: Gabby De Angelis, Holly Bate, Madison Prespakis.

ADC BEST:
Queensland: Lily Postlethwaite, Zimmorlei Farquharson, Isabel Dawes, Tori Groves-Little, Charlotte Hammans, Natalie Grider
Vic Metro: Eleanor Brown, Gabby Newton, Madison Prespakis, Katie Lynch, Georgia Macpherson, Georgia Patrikios.

 

Friday July 13

QUEENSLAND: 1.2 | 3.4 | 4.5 | 5.5 (35)
EASTERN ALLIES: 2.1 | 2.2 | 2.6 | 2.6 (18)

GOALS:
Queensland: Jesse Tawhiao-Wardlaw 2, Charlotte Hammans, Georgia Eller, Taylor Smith.
Eastern Allies: Alexia Hamilton 2.

ADC BEST:
Queensland: Lily Postlethwaite, Ellie Hampson, Serene Watson, Chloe Gregory, Jade Ellenger, Zimmorlei Farquharson
Eastern Allies: Alyce Parker, Netty Garlo, Lauren Stevenson, Alexia Hamilton, Mia King, Alice Mitchell

AFLW Under 18 Championships reviews: Central Allies

ALTHOUGH the Central Allies did not come away with a win, many players certainly showcased their talent and showed what they are made of. The side only met on the Saturday prior to the beginning of the Gold Coast carnival on the following Monday, which was two days later, so to scrape through with some admirable performances is a commendable effort considering the circumstances.

 

Key players:

Montana McKinnon

McKinnon had one of the strongest sets of hands during the carnival, taking plenty of marks in the back half and positioning herself well against opponents. She was great in a one-on-one situation, using her good bodywork to outmuscle opponents. Her kicks and tackling were also a highlight of her game and allowed her to be rewarded with a spot in the All Australian squad and a Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for her state.

Janet Baird

Named the Central Allies MVP, Baird proved how dangerous she can be with the ball in hand. Her run and carry across the ground was excellent and generated plenty of excitement during the carnival. Baird’s closing speed was also fantastic as she laid some bone-crunching tackles to stop opponents in their tracks.

Nikki Gore

A real leader on the field, Gore’s swift ball movement through the midfield allowed her to create many scoring opportunities. Her quick hands and precise kicking exemplified her excellent ball use and she was very deserving of an All Australian spot considering the fantastic efforts she has put in for the Central Allies.  

Esther Boles

The captain of the side and a player who displayed an incredible work ethic, Boles was sensational in the midfield. She went in hard at every contest and was able to display clean hands on the inside. Her kicks were long and penetrating and often helped her side to clear congestion.

Rachelle Martin

Although she only stands at 153cm, Martin was a highly dangerous forward for the Central Allies. She was able to sneak behind the pack many times to get the ball forward and she was able to use outside space well. Martin displayed a high work ethic throughout the carnival, displaying a constant aggression to win the football and create scoring opportunities.

Hannah Munyard

Munyard was an absolute bull through the midfield, winning the hard balls on the inside and displaying constant aggression to get it out to a runner on the outside. Munyard’s clean hands and long kicking were vital for her side and she excelled in both those areas. She was a player that never gave up and was at every contest trying to win the ball.

Katelyn Rosenzweig

A dominant force up forward, Rosenzweig enjoyed getting amongst the goals. She led well to the ball and often positioned herself well in one-on-one contests to take solid marks. She too had a long kick that created many forward thrusts for her side.

Tabitha May

Named Northern Territory’s MVP, May worked hard throughout the tournament to create run and carry in space. Another player who likes to tackle hard and she did so with intent, always trying to win the football.

 

RESULTS:

Monday July 9

EASTERN ALLIES 2.1 | 3.4 | 3.5 | 6.8 (44)
CENTRAL ALLIES 0.2 | 1.3 | 2.3 | 2.4 (16)

GOALS:

Eastern Allies: Lillian Doyle 3, Zoe Hurrell, Brea Quinlivan, Brianna McFarlane.
Central Allies: Arthurina Moreen, Katelyn Rosenzweig.

ADC BEST:
Eastern Allies: Lillian Doyle, Alyce Parker, Chloe Haines, Zoe HurRell, Brianna McFarlane.
Central Allies: Nikki Gore, Katelyn Rosenzweig, Esther Boles, Montana McKinnon, Arthurina Moreen.

 

Wednesday July 11

VIC COUNTRY: 1.1 | 3.2 | 5.4 | 6.6 (42)
CENTRAL ALLIES: 0.0 | 2.0 | 2.0 | 3.1 (19)

GOALS:
Vic Country: Lucy McEvoy 4, Molly McDonald, Nikia Webber.
Central Allies: Danielle Ponter 2, Katelyn Rosenzweig.

ADC BEST:
Vic Country: Lucy McEvoy, Nina Morrison, Jordyn Allen, Olivia Purcell, Nikia Webber, Sophie Van De Heuvel
Central Allies: Danielle Ponter, Amber Ward, Nikki Gore, Rachel Dunstan, Esther Boles, Hannah Munyard

 

Friday July 13

VIC METRO: 3.1 | 5.2 | 9.5 | 10.6 (66)
CENTRAL ALLIES 1.0 | 1.0 | 1.2 | 3.3 (21)

GOALS:
Vic Metro: Gabby Newton 2, Daisy Bateman 2, Britney Gutknecht 2, Cleo Saxon-Jones, Holly Bate, Madison Prespakis, Georgia Patrikios.
Central Allies: Danielle Ponter, Katelyn Rosenzweig, Rachelle Martin.

ADC BEST:
Vic Metro: Madison Prespakis, Georgia Patrikios, Daisy Bateman, Katie Lynch, Sarah Kendall, Eleanor Brown
Central Allies: Hannah Munyard, Montana McKinnon, Madeline Gault, Nikki Gore, Amber Ward, Madison Bennett

Knights’ bond the key to individual and team improvement: Jarvis

ONE of the more influential players in the TAC Cup Grand Final, Northern Knights speedster Marnie Jarvis has used her athletic abilities to impact on the football field.

Jarvis said her speed and endurance are key attributes to helping make the transition from basketball to football a few years ago. In 2018, she has improved across a number of areas in her game to become an important player in the Knights midfield.

“I was at basketball and they needed players for our team, so they were like ‘come down and try’ and I’ve loved it ever since,” she said. “I started playing for Yarrambat which is in the NFL (Northern Football League) and then Calder, and then when they got split, to the Knights.”

Jarvis said the 2018 group of Knights were close, and that had brought them success on the field, winning eight of a possible nine games to reach the grand final, and show they deserved their place in the decider, being up at half-time before going down by just 11 points – the game and season etched into the midfielder’s mind as her favourite football memory.

“I felt like all the girls at the Knights have developed really well, and bonded, which has helped us get to the grand final which was really good,” she said.

For Jarvis, she too has found that little tweaks in her game have helped her improve this season compared to last.

“I’ve been working on my ground balls and overhead marks instead of going for the easy chest marks,” she said. (Then) bringing into my chest straight away so it doesn’t get knocked out, which helps a bit.”

Her preferred position is the wing, and it’s easy to see why. Her ability to run at full pace and burn off opponents, or side step them with her agility has added a point of difference to the side. Her improvement was recognised by Vic Metro selectors, when Jarvis was picked for the team with two other top-age Knights players – captain Maddy Brancatisano, and ruck Neve O’Connor.

“It’s been really exciting,” she said. “It’s been one of my goals to get in and I’m happy to do it in my top-age year.”

Reaching the pointy end of her school journey has made her work-life balance a challenge, but the support through the TAC Cup and Northern Knights programs have helped.

“It’s been hard but easy because Knights is like close,” she said. “So I’ve had enough time to get home, do some more study.”

Her focus is now on Vic Metro duties at the National AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships, as well as playing Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s for the Darebin Falcons.

“I’m playing VFL for Darebin Falcons,” she said. “I’ve been doing two nights a week with them, Tuesday and Thursday, which has helped with the bigger bodies and then to come here and show what I can do. “Just being selected to get to the Gold Coast and play a few games (for Vic Metro) would be good.”

NSW/ACT weekly wrap: Under 18s triumph; AFLW Winter Series squads named

NSW/ACT’s most talented female footballers were the big talking points of the week, with the Under 18s side winning both its games over Tasmania in the first series of the National AFLW Championships, while the squads for the AFLW Winter Series were announced.

NSW/ACT too good for Tasmania

NSW/ACT Under 18s triumphed in the first series of the National AFLW Under 18 Championships. NSW/ACT won both its games against Tasmania ahead of the states combining to form the Eastern Allies for the second series of the National AFLW Under 18 Championships.

GWS GIANTS player and NSW/ACT Head coach Alicia Eva – who will also coach the Eastern Allies – told the NSW/ACT website she was very proud of the group’s effort.

“It was a pretty hotly contested game, particularly in the first half, goals were really hard to come by,” Eva said. “Credit to Tassie, because they put a lot of heat on the ball. They were probably on top of us in the contested ball area in the first half, so to get back on top in clearances and then open up our forward line, it was really pleasing to see how once we did that, and kind of stuck to that, we started hitting the scoreboard and the game opened up from there.”

AFLW Academy member Alyce Parker won the NSW/ACT’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the second consecutive year, while a number of others stood out in Eva’s eyes.

“Her (Parker) work rate around the ball was impressive across the whole game,” she said. “Georgia Garnett out on the wing, opened up the fat-side of the ground for us really nicely, particularly in the third quarter. “Ange Prifitis showed a bit early, which was good to see when playing a different role . “It was also good to see Jemima Wrigley sort of impose herself in the midfield – a bit of bash and crash – and she created a bit of run and carry out of the congestion.”

GIANTS squads picked

GWS GIANTS’ two sides entered in the AFL Women’s Winter Series starting this weekend were named earlier this week, with the players divided up into the Northern and Southern GIANTS squads. Twelve AFL Women’s listed players, including Alicia Eva, Ellie Brush, Erin McKinnon and Nicola Barr will line up for the Northern GIANTS, while Jodie Hicks and Britt Tully will play for the Southern GIANTS.

Northern GIANTS coach Roger Moten, a former GIANTS AFL development coach, said he was excited to see what some of the non-AFLW players could offer to the side.

“We’ve brought in some players that have previous train-on experience with the GIANTS AFLW squad or have played for the GIANTS’ AFLW side but we’ve unearthed a couple of new players,” Moten said. “There are some that are new to the game that we hope might go on to bigger and better things at the GIANTS.”

Former Carlton ruckman and Eastlakes coach, Anthony Bourke will coach the Southern GIANTS and looks forward to bringing together a group of players from the vast regions of southern New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

“It’s been a really exciting time for women’s footy in Canberra and the Riverina, and it’s a great opportunity for players to put themselves in front of people who are in AFL Women’s programs,” he said. “We’ve got a few players from the Riverina and Wagga that we’re excited to put on the bigger stage. “The Winter Series gives them an opportunity to develop and get a taste of what’s required to play AFLW.”

For more information, check out the AFL NSW/ACT website or the GWS GIANTS website.

Northern GIANTS Squad

Haneen Zrieka, Renee Tomkins, Lael Kassem (Auburn-Penrith), Georgia Breward (Coolangatta Bluebirds QWAFL), Ellie Brush, Kristy Sutcliffe, Laura Russel, Lisa Steane, Pippa Smyth (Macquarie University), Meaghan McDonald, Sarah Halvorsen (Newcastle City), Laura Holdsworth (Newtown) Alicia Eva, Nicola Barr, Pippy Clegg, Alex Sneddon, Erin McKinnon, Kristen Hay, Louise Stephenson (Sydney University), Alison Parkin, Roxy McGee, Sandra Janjetovic, Jasmine Smith, Jacinda Barclay, Meagan Kiely, Phoebe Monahan, Rebecca Privitelli (UNSW-ES Bulldogs), Laura Houghton (Western Magic), Melissa Freckelton (Western Wolves) Rylee Mcgartland (Wollongong).

Southern GIANTS Squad

Tegan Tisma (Ainslie), Elisa Pevere, Jodie Hicks (Belconnen), Ally Reid (Benalla), Gab Goldsworthy, Hayley Fairless, Isobel Cleary (CSU Bushpigs and Bushsows), Katie Rose, Najwa Allen, Karina Demant (Eastlake), Eloise Ashley-Cooper (Finley), Britt Tully (Gungahlin), Brea Quinlivan (Lavington), Lexi Hamilton, Carly Res, Hannah Dunn, Jessica Stramandinoli (Queanbeyan), Kahli Abbott (Riverina Lions), Bec Guglielmino, Emilee McPherson, Karina Collins, Sally Lynch, Alyce Parker, Melanie Wright, Olivia Hall (Thurgoona), Kate Greenacre, Rebecca Mitchell (Tuggeranong) Chelsea Knight, Kyra Jackson, Teneika Bruce (Wodonga).

2018 Winter Series Fixture

Round One

Saturday, June 9 – Northern GIANTS v Gold Coast Suns, Tom Wills Oval 10:30am
Sunday, June 10 – Southern GIANTS v Brisbane Lions, Tom Wills Oval 11:00am

Round Two

Saturday, June 23 – Brisbane Lions v Northern GIANTS, Zillmere 1:30pm
Sunday, June 24 – Gold Coast Suns v Southern GIANTS, Southport 11:00am

Round Three

Saturday, July 14 – Gold Coast Suns v Brisbane Lions, Metricon Stadium 4:40pm
Saturday, July 14 – Northern GIANTS v Southern GIANTS, Tom Wills Oval 11:00am