NSW/ACT AFL Women’s Rising Stars

Two players from the AFL NSW/ACT Talent Pathway have been nominated for the 2017 NAB Rising Star Award in the AFL Women’s competition.

Nicola Barr of the GWS GIANTS was yesterday announced as one of the final two nominees for 2017 for her Round 7 performance against the Western Bulldogs, where she gained 12 disposals and ran out the entire game.

Earlier in the season, Barr’s teammate at both the GWS GIANTS and their AFL Sydney Club of Sydney University, Erin McKinnon was nominated for her outstanding ruck efforts in their Round 3 match against Fremantle.

As both the youngest – drafted at 17 years old – and the tallest player in the AFL Women’s competition, McKinnon’s maturity over the 2017 season has astounded opponents and fans alike, as she took hit-out honours in five of the seven matches throughout the season.

Both Barr and McKinnon started their AFL careers on Sydney’s Lower North Shore, picking up the Sherrin in their teens – Barr first playing for her high school team at Queenwood School for Girls, and McKinnon for her local AFL Sydney Juniors Club, the Mosman Swans.

Each have represented NSW/ACT at a state level in the Women’s and Youth Girls competitions, and Barr was also a part of the Female Academy system in 2016.

Barr attributes much of her success to the foundation years spent in the NSW/ACT Talent Pathway, saying that her time in the Academy allowed her to fast track her footballing development.

“Being able to train twice a week with the best players from NSW/ACT really helps to push your boundaries, and these academies will only continue to grow,” says Barr.

“The Youth Girls program has also been excellent in preparing young players for the elite level.”

With both being nominated for the 2017 NAB Rising Star Award, it only adds to the accolades already received by the two over their short careers.

In 2016, McKinnon was selected as a part of the All Australian Youth Girls squad after NSW/ACT took victory in the Division Two competition at last year’s Youth Girls Championships.

Equally impressive, Barr received the coveted 2016 Mostyn Medal for the AFL Sydney Women’s competition’s Best and Fairest player, and was also the number one draft pick at the inaugural AFL Women’s Draft.

With the two Rising Stars leading the way in female talent coming out of out of New South Wales and the ACT, Barr is excited by the prospects of future players coming through the NSW/ACT Talent Pathway.

“We saw how well the NSW/ACT Youth Girls team performed last year, and this just goes to show that there are many stars that are going to continue coming through the NSW/ACT Talent Pathway, and develop into elite footballers.

“It’s a really exciting time for football in NSW/ACT, for both men and women, and with the introduction of the GWS GIANTS Women’s team, you are going to see more and more young talent coming through the ranks in years to come.”

The NAB Rising Star Award will be announced at the W Awards on 28 March.