Eight Northern Territory players have been selected in the Central Allies squad, who will play in the 2019 NAB AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships in July.
Shoneeka Abbott, Mattea Breed, Dominique Carbone, Bella Clarke, Tayla Hart-Aluni, Alysha Healy, Shantel Miskin-Ripia and Stephanie Williams have been selected in the Central Allies Squad with an additional 20 South Australian players. From this squad of 28, a final 24 will be selected to make the final 2019 Central Allies Team.
The team of talented players will travel to state-of-the-art stadiums to play Round 2 of the Championships. The Central Allies will take on their Eastern counterparts, the Eastern Allies, at Metricon Stadium on Monday 8 July before playing Western Australia on Wednesday 10 July and to conclude the second round, take on Queensland at Bond University on Friday 12 July.
This year’s Central Allies Head Coach is also NT Thunder Women’s Academy Manager and NT Thunder VFLW Head Coach, Heidi Thompson. Thompson said that the squad boasts some of the most exciting up and coming AFLW talent out there and she can’t wait to be part of furthering their AFLW futures.
“My passion is with education and building talent within AFLW and I am delighted to have been given the opportunity to coach this talented group of young ladies.
“The selected players were chosen on their dedication and performance during the first round of the Championships held in South Australia, combining the top talents from both South Australian and the Territory teams to make up the ‘Central Allies’.
“This Championships is really the dress rehearsal for these girls to be selected into the All Australian Squad and gives them the opportunity to shine in front of AFLW club recruiters, with 23 of the girls eligible for draft.”
Thompson is joined by fellow Territorian Matt Creeper who comes into the coaching staff as midfield coach along with South Australian’s Emma Sampson as forwards coach and defence coach, Bill Economou.
“I am lucky to have a strong coaching team to work with made up of both experience and fresh faces as the Championships allows development of not only players but coaching staff as well”, Thompson Said.
The NT-based Central Allies squad members will train with the senior NT Thunder VFLW team on Mondays and Wednesdays and media are welcome to arrange interviews in the coming weeks before they head away for Round 2 of the NAB AFLW Under 18 Championships.
The final Central Allies team of 24 will be submitted to the AFL on Friday 21 June.
What Coach Heidi Thompson had to say about the eight NT players selected:
Description: Based in Alice Spring, the Pinktails member and NT’s MVP for Round 1 of the Championships, Abbott didn’t have the same opportunity to train with the Darwin-based members. Her determination to overcome the geographical boundaries and inability to train with the core group did not reflect in her performance during Round 1, these attributes supplemented by her raw talent made her a natural selection for the team. Abbott’s defensive efforts and pressure acts on the field regularly created turnovers and was a huge feature of her game.
Description: Breed’s willingness to compete and ‘never give up attitude’ can be felt around the field. These traits make her a fierce competitor and accompanied by her physical size allows her to dominate ruck contests. Breed uses her size and power effectively to win contested ball around the ground and can be played in a range of key positions.
Description: Carbone has excellent agility and regularly finds herself driving her legs out of congestion and into space to hit up targets. Her mature approach to the game makes her a natural leader in this space. Carbone comes from a high level basketball background and her skills transfer nicely out onto the field.
Description: Clarke played in last year’s Central Allies team as a key forward, this year Clarke has swapped ends of the ground, and shows her diversity as a player being able to provide a contest at both ends of the field. Clarke has been named as one of the player to watch for the 2019 Championships due to her high level of commitment that she has shown this year.
Position: Key Forward
Description: Hart-Aluni is a lean forward who plays tall with her exceptional leap and strong hands overhead. Her trusty left foot was on show in Round 1 and this selection was a great reward for effort over the course of the past couple of months and hard work in the lead up to the National Championships.
Description: This is Healy’s second appearance in the Central Allies team after playing in the defensive position in 2018. Healy made her debut in the VFLW NT Thunder’s win in Round 5, in perfect timing to gain top level experience in the lead up to Round 2 of the Championships. Healy uses her strong frame well to rebound out of the backline and makes good decisions under pressure.
Description: Miskin-Ripia made her well-timed debut in VFLW NT Thunder’s Round 5 win against Carlton, making the best on ground list. She showed real poise and composure coming out of the backline and her size and diversity makes Miskin-Ripia a true ‘utility player’ who is exciting to watch. Another young lady to keep an eye out for in the future.
Description: Williams has the ‘X factor’ due to her speed and agility and is one of the most exciting players in the side, a name to look for in the future. She is the youngest NT player selected in the side, but don’t let this fool you as her midfield pressure and ability to win the ball is second to none. Williams has the ability to burst out of packs, run and carry and loves to play an exciting brand of footy.
Note: Only 5 selected players were available for a photo.