Homegrown players shine at National Champs

Three teams hailing from the NSW/ACT region traveled to the Gold Coast last week to take on state teams from around Australia.

With new rounds of the Men’s Under 16s and Under 17s, and AFL Women’s Under 18s Championships taking place across a six day period, the three NSW/ACT teams impressed.

The Under 16 NSW/ACT Rams were the most successful of the teams who traveled to Queensland, winning both of their matches against the Northern Territory and Tasmania.

After an imposing three matches – including the Rams’ close loss to Queensland back in June – Coolamon’s Liam Delahunty was named the Division Two NAB AFL U16 Player of the Championships. Kicking 11 goals for NSW/ACT, including a five-goal haul against the Northern Territory, the GWS GIANTS Academy member caught the eyes of many throughout the Championships.

Also making onlookers take notice were five of the NSW/ACT Youth Girls players who stood out despite some narrow losses to their team in the NAB AFLW U18s Championships.

While the Youth Girls side were unable to come away with a win from the Championships, a few close encounters – including a nail-biter against staunch favourites Vic Metro – meant that NSW/ACT players were put on the map.

Following the tournament, NSW/ACT players Alyce Parker, Jordyn Jolliffe, Haneen Zreika, Georgia Breward and Ellie Delgarno-Fixter were all named as a part of the 54-woman AFL Women’s U18s All Australian squad.

Parker was also named the NAB AFLW U18 Player of the Championships. Again the standout for the NSW/ACT Youth Girls side, Parker reached feats such as 37 touches in just 60 minutes during NSW/ACT’s match against Vic Country. Holding a natural ability to read the play and act on coach instructions, Parker was instrumental for the Youth Girls side.

While Parker, Jolliffe and Breward remain ineligible for the 2017 AFL Women’s Draft due to their age, Zreika and Delgano-Fixture will look to nominate along with Chloe Arndt, Zoe Allen, Renee Friend, Nicky Steel, Chelsea Hamilton, Paige Nash, Rebecca Mount and Sammy Bird.

The AFLW U18 All Australian squad will be split in two, and will play a curtain-raiser to the NAB AFL Women’s State of Origin match to be played during the AFL’s ‘Celebration of Football’ between the end of round 23 and the first week of the AFL finals.