Sargent-Wilson named Player of the SSA Champs
The School Sports Australia (SSA) Under-15s AFL Championships took place in Adelaide recently with four teams from the AFL NSW/ACT region taking part across the Boys and Girls competitions.
The New South Wales Bluebirds finished the tournament as the most successful out of the four teams, making the Pool B Grand Final. Having finished second on the ladder after three wins against Western Australia (27-19), Victoria (36-9) and the Northern Territory (35-1), the Bluebirds were thrilled to come up against Victoria in the ultimate game. Unfortunately for the Bluebirds, they went down by nine points, despite a close and hard-fought match.
New South Wales Bluebirds Assistant Coach, Louise Stephenson said it was great to see all the Bluebirds’ hard work pay-off.
“Their determination was evident as they played against teams throughout the week who were probably more experienced and more skilful, but our girls rallied together and just played super as a whole team,” said Stephenson.
“We told them for their third and fourth games to just keep it simple; bring their tackle pressure, get the ball moving forward, and to just have fun.
“They responded so well against some really classy sides and loved the experience of playing in a Grand Final.”
It was a hard tournament for the ACT Girls side, unfortunately unable to get a win on the board, despite their resolve to compete and represent their territory.
In the Under-15s Boys competition, New South Wales took two victories out of five matches – one each against the Northern Territory (158-14) and their brothers from the ACT (83-12). The boys also came close against Tasmania (44-55) and Western Australia (36-56).
Unfortunately for the ACT Under-15s Boys side, they couldn’t muster a win in Adelaide despite coming close against the Northern Territory, losing out by a solitary point (48-49).
New South Wales and the ACT both finished third and fourth respectively in the Pool A competition, while both teams had representation in the final SSA All Australian squads, selected on the final day of competition – Kai Watts (NSW), Joshua Fahey (ACT) and Patrick Voss (NSW) were all selected in the national squad.
In the Under-15s Girls, Ally Morphett, Mikayla Jones, Isadora McLeay and Ruby Sargent-Wilson – all from team New South Wales – were selected as part of the representative group. Cementing what had been a formidable tournament for Sargent-Wilson, she was also awarded the Helen ‘Squizz’ Taylor Girls Player of the Championship Medal.
“Ruby has played, I think, about six games of AFL in her life, which speaks volumes in itself,” said Stephenson.
“She is a touch rugby player, so her speed and footwork with the ball in hand was a level above. She worked her way out of traffic with ease and was able to deliver her kicks clean to our forwards.
“Defensively her tackling pressure was enormous. She is an extremely exciting player to watch with a big future ahead.”