The AFL Queensland Under 17 Youth Girls State Championships were completed on Sunday with the Gold Coast Sunsets taking out the Division 1 grand final with a 43 point victory over the Sunshine Coast Storm.
A total of 12 teams, comprised of some 270 players from all over the state converged on Yeronga for the four day carnival. From these championships, the Queensland Youth Girls State Academy will be selected. Western Bulldogs and Darebin Falcons star Aasta O’Connor attended the championships as an academy selector and was blown away by the talent on display. "To go home after six years in Victoria and see how the game has progressed up in Queensland was really great. The professionalism and engagement from not just the players but from all involved is clearly why it's growing at such a rapid rate up there.” O’Connor said.
The high standard of these championships is a credit to the programs being implemented by AFL Queensland, no small feat when you consider the geographical challenges faced by running a statewide program in a state the size of Queensland.
As AFL Queensland Female High Performance Manager Craig Starcevich explains; “Each of our 12 regions in Queensland enter a team in the under-17s state championships. We are working towards each region having its own year-round youth girls academy. We also piloted a four-team under-14s championships in September. Our Queensland Youth Girls Academy is selected from these two events.”
With female participation rapidly rising and a national women’s competition firmly on the horizon; development programs and pathways such as AFL Queensland’s prove that the depth of talent exists for a thriving national competition in 2017 and well beyond. Aasta O’Connor sums it up perfectly; “These girls can seriously play and I can't wait to see what they produce in years to come on the big stage.”
Click here for the full list of results.