AFL Canberra announced the 2017 AFL NSW/ACT Women’s Representative team to play against AFL Riverina in Wagga this Saturday.
UNSW Canberra Women’s NSW/ACT Co-Captains Hannah “Wally” Wallet and Britt Tully attended a media event at UNSW Canberra Oval this morning, to talk about the upcoming clash against their Southern NSW counterparts.
“It’s a big honour to all come together, to break down those barriers and to really showcase what ACT AFL has to offer,” said Co-Captain Hannah Wallet.
“I think [the ACT is] often a bit of a forgotten state in terms of AFL. And we work really hard to bring that reputation up, in terms of how we play footy and the strengths that we have right throughout the grassroots program,” Ms Wallet said.
“We want us to be recognised as an AFL state and we want to play like that.”
Ms Wallet said that she has grown up playing AFL in the ACT competition and has a fair idea about the strength Riverina brings to the footy.
“They play a hard contested game, they run at the ball and they are very physical. So we are not expecting anything less from them from a representative side,” said Wallet.
“We know a couple of ACT players that will be transferring to the [Riverina] side and one of our team mates from GWS Giants Clare Lawton will also be playing.”
“If anything is to go by how she plays, then [Riverina] will be bringing a pretty hard game.”
Co-Captain Britt Tully said that training, earlier this year, with other elite players for the AFLW Premiership season, must bring something different back to our local clubs.
“I can tell already, just training with ‘Wally’ and Ella [Ross] that they’ve improved, even from last year,” Tully said.
“And we can read each other a lot. So, hopefully we bring that to the other players in our team and they can learn some things of us. ”
Brit Tully said there is a new coaching team for this weekend’s AFL NSW/ACT Women’s Representative match in Wagga.
The Coaching team for this weekend’s match against Riverina will include Head Coach Steve Miller, Assistant Coach Susan Cadman, Assistant Coach Cheyne Webster and Manager Rachel Dobing.
Following the success of the AFLW Premiership season earlier this year, there has been a surge in interest in youth girls and women’s AFL locally, said Wallet.
“When I got back to Belconnen pre-season, there were 47 girls training in the pre-season, trialling out for the women’s first grade team,” Wallet said.
“I know that Gungahlin, Queanbeyan, Ainslie and ANU all had had similar numbers,” she said.
“There was talk of us trying to get together extra teams, just so that these girls, who just wanted to play footy.”
“Whether they wanted to play at the top level or just wanted to play for fun, they all wanted to get involved.
“That was really exciting to see. It was cool to see how just the very first season of AFL Women’s has rubbed off on community footy.”
In the AFL Canberra Women’s competition Hanna Wallet plays for Belconnen Magpies and Britt Tully plays for Gungahlin Jets.
Tonight the Co-Captains will go head to head when Belconnen Magpies v Gungahlin Jets at the Gungahlin Enclosed Oval at 7:00pm. Entry is free.
“We’ve always had a rivalry with Belconnen,” Tully said.
“At the same time we are all friends. We will go hard in the game but I think afterwards it won’t matter. Then we will come together,” she said.
“We’ve both got a large proportion of players in the ACT [Representative] side. So we want to take care of each other as well for the weekend.”
“We’ll probably just keep our eyes on Wally and try and keep her down. Then we should be right.”
AFL Canberra Community and AFL Canberra Operations Manager Gary Lawless said, on the back of AFLW competition earlier this year, there has been a surge in youth girl’s registration in the local competition.
Mr Lawless said this year’s competition in AFL Canberra has an additional two Divisions, the U10 and U12 Youth Girls, to compliment the U15 and U18 Divisions that they had the year before.
“We’ve actually seen a rise in 13 new teams in the youth girls divisions, mainly in U10 in U12,” Mr Lawless said.
For more information about playing or getting involved in AFL Canberra go to aflcanberra.com.au.
- Saturday 20 May, Robertson Oval, Wagga Wagga
- Men’s v Riverina Football Netball League (3pm)
- UNSW Canberra Women’s AFL Riverina (1pm)
- U17s v Riverina Football Netball League (11am)
Photos by Doug Dobing. Photo 1: UNSW Canberra Women’s NSW/ACT Co-Captains Britt Tully (left) and Hanna ‘Wally’ Wallet (right). Photo 2: Hanna ‘Wally’ Wallet kicks AFL style. Photo 3: James Bennet (AFL Canberra Men’s Representative Captain) and Hanna Wallett & Britt Tully (UNSW Canberra Women’s Representative Co-Captains).
Doug Dobing is a freelance journalist, photographer, public servant and current affairs presenter on 2XXFM Wednesday SubjectACT. You can find him on Twitter @DougDobing.