Vic Metro shines in Youth Girl Championships

youth girls

Photo courtesy of AFL Victoria

While many are focused on the upcoming Under 18s Championships for those players ready to put their hands up in the AFL, there was another competition occurring in the far west, with equally talented players, just minus the media coverage.

In Mandurah, Western Australia, the 2015 Youth Girls Championships took place over four days, with Vic Metro taking out the top prize against Queensland, while in Division 2, South Australia won the Grand Final against NSW/ACT.

In this review, all the results, top players, team reviews and Grand Final results are in to see the most talented female juniors in the country.

Pool A results:

Day 1 –

Vic Country (21) vs QLD (43)

WA (38) vs Vic Metro (48)

Day 2 –

Vic Country (18) vs Vic Metro (53)

QLD (45) vs WA (14)

Day 3 –

Vic Metro (53) vs QLD (36)

WA (38) vs Vic Country (14)

Day 4 –

GF:Vic Metro (22) vs QLD (15) 

3rd Place: WA (42) vs Vic Country (21) 

Team by Team:

Vic Metro:

WA (38) vs Vic Metro (48)

Vic Country (18) vs Vic Metro (53)

Vic Metro (53) vs QLD (36)

— Vic Metro (22) vs QLD (15) —

Vic Metro had another successful Youth Girls Championships (YGC) this year, winning all games played very convincingly. This is a great bounce back from last years disappointing loss to WA in the finals after a 5 year winning streak. Great performances from Jessica Smith, Taylah Clayton, Monique Conti and Brittany Bonnici over the course of the competition led the Metro to their ultimate Grand Final win.

Vic Country:

Vic Country (21) vs QLD (43)

Vic Country (18) vs Vic Metro (53)

WA (38) vs Vic Country (14)

– WA (42) vs Vic Country (21) –

Vic Country had an underwhelming competition, unable to pull together a win this year. Lily Mithen, joint 2014 YGC best and fairest did provide the team with some stellar performances, and with a few younger players developing should help the Country lead a much better competition in 2016. 

WA:

WA (38) vs Vic Metro (48)

QLD (45) vs WA (14)

WA (38) vs Vic Country (14)

– WA (42) vs Vic Country (21) –

Last years champions had a slow start to the competition, having lost 16 players from their victorious 2014 side. Early losses against Vic Metro and Queensland effectively put them out of grand final contention, but two wins over Vic Country still allowed for a respectable performance. Jasmin Stewart, Jessica Fenton and both Claire and Rachel Ortlepp put in some fine work over the four games, leading WA to both their wins.

QLD:

Vic Country (21) vs QLD (43)

QLD (45) vs WA (14)

Vic Metro (53) vs QLD (36)

— Vic Metro (22) vs QLD (15) —

Queensland made a stellar jump this year to prove real grand final contenders. After fielding the youngest team in 2014 and still finishing third in Pool A, another year of maturity seemed to do the Maroons a world of good. With Tayla Harris winning the competitions best and fairest, Queensland looked good in their narrow loss to the always solid Vic Metro. An exciting 2016 competition ahead.

Pool B results:

Day 1 –

Woomeras (30) vs NSW/ACT (44)

SA (94) vs Thunder Devils (24)

Day 2 –

Thunder Devils (48) vs Woomeras (43)

NSW/ACT (3) vs SA (80)

Day 3 –

NSW/ACT (36) vs Thunder Devils (16)

Woomeras (31) vs SA (57)

Day 4 –

GF: SA (58) vs NSW/ACT (20) 

3rd Place: Woomeras (22) vs Thunder Devils (4) 

SA:

SA (94) vs Thunder Devils (24)

NSW/ACT (3) vs SA (80)

Woomeras (31) vs SA (57)

— SA (58) vs NSW/ACT (20) —

The undefeated South Australia indisputably dominated Pool B this year, with major wins against all of their opponents. With AFL Academy 14 member Sarah Allan putting on an excellent performance, earning her Pool B Best and Fairest, and solid games by Ebony Marinoff, Tait Mackrill and Sarah Milham the girls looked hard to beat. It seems the 2015 SANFL increase in female football support has really injected new life into this team.

NSW/ACT:

Woomeras (30) vs NSW/ACT (44)

NSW/ACT (3) vs SA (80)

NSW/ACT (36) vs Thunder Devils (16)

— SA (58) vs NSW/ACT (20) —

The joint NSW/ACT team had a similar year to their narrow Grand Final loss in 2014. Apart from just one loss against SA, who they played again in the Grand Final, the girls had a reasonably impressive tournament. Jodie Hicks, a 2014 All Australian and clear leader, with the assistance of Angela Prftis aided the Blues to their runner up position. 

Thunder Devils:

SA (94) vs Thunder Devils (24)

Thunder Devils (48) vs Woomeras (43)

NSW/ACT (36) vs Thunder Devils (16)

– Woomeras (22) vs Thunder Devils (4) –

While the Thunder Devils only managed to win one of their four games throughout the tournament, the joint Northern Territory/Tasmania side showed promising development. 2014 saw the team thrown together a day before the competition, and despite a bottom of the table finish it seemed the girls were able to adapt to the demands of the YGC this year far better. Dannielle Ponter in the midfield and Ellyse Gamble in ruck/pushing forward were the two standouts for the Devils this year.

Woomeras:

Woomeras (30) vs NSW/ACT (44)

Thunder Devils (48) vs Woomeras (43)

Woomeras (31) vs SA (57)

– Woomeras (22) vs Thunder Devils (4) –

The Woomeras had a seriously disappointing competition in comparison to last years Pool B Grand Final win. The Indigenous team, with a completely different lineup to their victorious 2014 side, did not seem to be able to maintain that intense run and carry which guided them to their previous Grand Final win. Despite this, Hayley Smith and Jesica Stassi managed to lead their team to a third place position.

Competition Best & Fairest Winners:

Pool A: Tayla Harris (QLD)

A Youth Girls Championship veteran, Tayla Harris had a blowout competition in 2015. In her last year as an under 18, Harris has developed into not only a highly skilled player, impressing with her aerial and both offensive and defensive work, but a great leader. Catching up with Tayla, she emphasised how the YGC has helped her to develop as a person and a player, “with a specific focus on leadership” that built into achieving captaincy this year. Queensland female talent manager, Craig Starcevich, commented on Taylor’s progress, mentioning that her “willingness to impact defensively during a game” has been the most pleasing aspect of her development. On her own move to centre half back this tournament, Tayla remarked, “I see myself as a versatile player, and a coachable person. Being put into another unfamiliar position this year and gaining All Australian honours in this role highlights my ability to adapt”.

This is certainly true, because as well as being named across the half back line in the All Australian team, Tayla was named as one of Queensland’s best over all four games, taking out best and fairest in their narrow loss to Vic Metro and across the competition – a feat which she admits was very rewarding, as she had quietly set it as her personal goal for the carnival. She tips the next Queensland players to look out for are 16 year old’s Elisha King and Gabby Collingwood, “both small agile young guns” who “will only get better”. Tayla is now setting her sights on new opportunities as an 18 year old, “I would love to develop in the leadership space, taking on more challenges”, she adds, “With the intention to compete at my best”. A superstar of the YGC who will surely go on to shine in the women’s competitions next year.

Pool B: Sarah Allan (SA)

Not yet 16, Sarah Allan dominated the Pool B tournament this year with her explosive ruck work. The 15 year-old was a part of the AFL Academy 14 that toured New Zealand last year and has been on fire ever since. With the ability to go forward and score, Allan was named in the forward line of the Youth Girls All Australian team. Her National Youth Girls Championships left nothing to be desired, as she was named in SA’s best for all four of their matches and played a pivotal role in their Pool B Grand Final win (named best on ground). With a few more years left as an under 18, she will be one to take the YGC by storm for many more tournaments.

The Grand Finals:

Pool A. Vic Metro (22) vs QLD (15):

After winning all three of their qualifying matches convincingly, Vic Metro were the favourites going in to the Pool A Grand Final at Bendigo Bank Stadium in Mandurah, WA. 

Although the two teams played each other the day before, the Grand Final proved to be a much different affair, with both teams tightening up around the footy.

In a ferocious and skilful display by the two leading Youth Girls teams, Metro managed to snag a narrow victory by 7 points.

Despite the genuine threat of a comeback led by Mansfield and Ketchup, Queensland were unable to topple the solid playing unit that is the Vic Metro in the end, with the low scoring nature of the game working against them.

Stellar performances by Brittany Bonnici, Monique Conti (who Tayla Harris pointed out as “super quick and a great ball user”), Jordyn Allen, Jessica Smith, Georgia Fischer and Taylah Clayton (coupled with game solidifying goals by Prudence Dargan, Sarah Cordes and Mia Amon) saw Vic Metro sail to their 6th YGC win. With Gabby Collingwood, Elisha King, Tahlia Randall and Jade Ransfield leading a respectable and well fought charge for the Maroons, and Tayla Harris taking out Best on Ground for her last Youth Girls Championships Grand Final.

Pool B. South Australia (58) vs NSW/ACT (20):

South Australia continued their dominant display of football right into the last minutes of the Pool B Grand Final against NSW/ACT at Bendigo Bank Stadium, WA. 

Unbeaten throughout the whole competition, SA gave little hope to the Blues as they kicked the first four goals of the match within 13 minutes. 

A second half fight by NSW/ACT saw SA’s lead drop to only 20 points early in the third quarter, but South Australia quickly booted three to ensure they went on to win by 38.

A well earned win by SA, and a well fought loss by the Blues exemplified the class and spirit of the two Pool B leaders, with both teams putting on a great display of what these young women have to offer the footballing world.

Layla Fitzgibbons, Tait Mackrill, Sarah Milham, Demi Sonneman and Ashleigh Woodland were responsible for South Australia’s commanding win, with goals from Mackrill, Milham and Woodland, as well as Esther Boles, Kyesha Christensen and Brianna Walling, solidifying the game. Another best on ground performance from Sarah Allan saw SA seize Grand Final victory after a fantastic competition.

NSW/ACT were led by Pippy Clegg, Jodie Hicks, Sassa Barnes, Angela Prftis, Amber Allen and Teigan Hawke, with goals from Barnes and BlaiseMiller-Hill to their reputable runner up effort. 

Start a Conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *