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Footy stars back from series

Saturday, 14th April, 2018

Eliza Cumming (left) and Melisa Keenan are enjoying some down time after their trial game matches at the Youth Girls Northern Academy Series in Coffs Harbour last weekend. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson Eliza Cumming (left) and Melisa Keenan are enjoying some down time after their trial game matches at the Youth Girls Northern Academy Series in Coffs Harbour last weekend. PICTURE: Emily Ferguson

By Emily Ferguson

Melisa Keenan and Eliza Cumming competed in the Youth Girls Northern Academy Series in Coffs Harbour last weekend.

The girls played three games for the GWS Giants side, after the NSW/ACT squad was split into two teams, the Giants and the Sydney Swans. 

The girls played their first game on Friday Night, where they versed the Brisbane Lions. Unfortunately the Giants were defeated by just one point, the final score was Brisbane Lions 3.3 (21) to Giants 2.8 (20). 

Game two saw them face the other NSW side, the Sydney Swans. In this Saturday afternoon game the Giants were victorious winning by thirty points, Giants 9.5 (59) to the Swans’ 4.5 (29). This game saw both girls contributing to the Giants’ score with Keenan kicking two goals and Cumming one.  

In their final game on the Sunday morning the Giants lost to the Gold Coast Suns. The final score being the Suns 6.7 (43) to Giants’ 0.1 (1). Both Melisa and Eliza agreed that the toughest team by far was the Gold Coast Suns side. “They were really good and so physical,” said Melisa.

“We both played in the backlines which was a different experience for us, we’re usually forwards, and so it was a bit challenging,” she said.

“When we go away, it is heaps faster compared to here and so much more physical.”

Eliza said it was good to see how they went against other teams.

“It was great learning the new skills that we have and we can now bring them into the local competition in the season ahead,” Eliza said.

“Even if we don’t get in (to the state side) we’ve learnt heaps and it was a great experience - so worth it.”

The AFL NSW/ACT Youth Girls Assistant Coach, Nicola Barr said the Northern Academy Series was a huge success.

“It was great to see how much all the girls seemed to develop in such a short space of time,” she said.

“The girls were really competitive and acted in an elite manner throughout the weekend, which sets them up well in terms of a pathway towards AFL women’s.”

The final AFL NSW/ACT Youth Girls squad is set to take on Tasmania on June 1 and 3.

The selected team will be named in the coming month.

Following the series in Tasmania, players from each team will be selected to play for the Eastern Allies who will contest in the Under 18 AFL Women’s Championships in July.

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