Schoolgirl competition introduces next crop of AFLW stars

On Saturday, 12 February students at Sydney’s independent girls’ schools will commence their 2022 AFL season.

First contested in 2019 by six schools collectively fielding 32 teams, the Independent Girls Schools competition has rocketed to more than 72 teams from 12 schools with an incredible 1,300 players pulling on the boots. (The burgeoning popularity of the sport has seen a second season of this competition open in Term 2 and Term 3, with more than 30 teams participating.)

Among the independent girls school cohort is some serious talent, many of which are seeking a spot on the Sydney Swans’ or the GIANTS’ AFLW lists next season. They will look to emulate other independent Sydney schoolgirls who have made it onto AFLW lists including Nicola Barr, Chloe Dalton and Georgie Fowler.

Tiffany Robertson, Head of AFL NSW/ACT, said of the Independent Girls Schools Competition: “School sport is where some of the best friendships and footy memories are created. I am so proud AFL is making an impact on so many young women in Sydney’s independent schools.

“This year is bigger than ever with our independent schools competing for state school championship silverware for the first time. It provides a chance to represent your school on the big stage and paves a genuine pathway to AFLW for our talented female athletes.

“Good luck to everyone involved in the competition. I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun throughout the season.”


Pymble and Ravenswood the ones to watch

Competition manager, Phil Spratt, believes both Pymble Ladies College and Ravenswood School for Girls are the teams to beat in the Open Division 1 competition. Both have multiple players in the Sydney Swans Academy and a raft of talented girls trying AFL for the first time.

Brigidine College will also be looking to push for a grand final berth this season after only missing out by percentage last year.

“One of the great things about the Independent Girls Schools competition is the contests are always tight,” Spratt said. “There’s a mix of experiences on the field, but everyone is giving it their all and having a good time with their friends. It’s great footy.”


Swans premiership great mentors coaches

The Independent Girls Schools competition is replete with famous football names ready to share a positive influence on players and deliver favourable outcomes for their schools.

One of those is AFL NSW/ACT’s Coaching Development Lead, Ryan O’Keefe, who will mentor coaches at St Catherine’s in Waverley to help them improve their craft.

“I’ll draw on my experiences and pass on lessons to coaches just getting into the game,” said O’Keefe. “My goal is to empower these coaches to run training sessions and deliver match day messages on their own. The competition is getting stronger every year and the coaching skills need to progress with the quality of the games to ensure the footy product continues to develop.”


Northern and southern representative matches

There is a lot on the line for players in the Independent Girls Schools competition in 2022. The premiers automatically book their place in the state championship, which is played by region-topping schools from Sydney, the ACT, the Riverina and the north coast of NSW.

From an individual perspective, players will have plenty of opportunities to be noticed by Swans and GIANTS recruiters.

The cream of the crop will be selected for a representative match between northern and southern Sydney students. These teams will be coached by first-year GIANTS players Jess Doyle and Georgie Fowler.


Schools involved

– Abbotsleigh
– Brigidine College St Ives
– Loreto Normanhurst
– MLC School
– Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College
– PLC Sydney
– Pymble Ladies’ College
– Ravenswood School for Girls
– St Catherine’s School
– St Scholastica’s College
– Stella Maris College
– Wenona School


Updates and match reports on the Independent Girls Schools competition can be found on AFL Sydney Juniors’ website.