AUSSIE RULES: The North Coast is rapidly emerging as a breeding ground for talented female footy players, and the Clarence Valley is not missing out on the spoils.
Five North Coast juniors were named in the 2018 NSW/ACT Youth Girls Academy including three of the Grafton Tigers brightest stars.
The Youth Girls State Academy program is an initiative catering to the most talented 17 and 18 year old girls and will lead into state team selection to compete at the Youth Girls' national championships in 2018.
Leading the way for the locals are Grafton Tigers duo Georgia Breward (17) and Lilly Doyle (16). Both played for NSW/ACT at the national championships in 2017, with Breward gaining All-Australian squad selection in what was her second season in the state team.
Breward and Doyle will be joined in the squad by Tigers teammate Jordan Speechley, who relocated to Grafton from Darwin at the start of the 2017 season. Jordie played for six seasons in Darwin and instantly marked herself as a player to watch, going on to be the captain of the North Coast Force representative team.
Fellow North Coast juniors Cassidy Ronalds (Coffs Breakers) and Lizzie Dickson (Macleay Valley Eagles) also made the academy squad after dominant seasons on the AFL North Coast fields. Ronalds was awarded the Nikki Wallace Medal as the league's best and fairest player.
The five players will take part in skills camps in December, January, and March, before playing in the Northern Academy Series to be staged in Coffs Harbour in April 2018. Following that series, the NSW/ACT Youth Girls' team will be selected to compete in the National Championships in mid-2018.
AFL North Coast will have a four-team women's footy competition in 2018.