Speechley ready for groundbreaking challenge

SOARING HIGH: Grafton Tigers junior Jordan Speechley will step up into the AFL North Coast womens team to play against Ballina Bombers today.
SOARING HIGH: Grafton Tigers junior Jordan Speechley will step up into the AFL North Coast womens team to play against Ballina Bombers today. Matthew Elkerton

AUSSIE RULES: It is hard for anyone to imagine a 16-year-old as the most experienced in their field, but when it comes to mauling teenager Jordan Speechley, it is undeniable.

The Grafton Tigers latest acquisition has been tearing up the fields for their Youth Girls side utilising her vast knowledge from years in the Darwin AFL juniors system.

A chance to uproot and get a change in perspective had the Territories teen relocate with her family to the Clarence Valley and it wasn't long before she strapped on the boots for Grafton.

Now with a chance at a brand new challenge, Speechley will suit up for the first ever AFL North Coast Women's team as they break new ground at Ellem Oval against Ballina today.

"This my seventh season playing AFL, I started in under-12s and worked my way all the way up to under-18s before I left Darwin,” Speechley said.

'I am a bit more experienced than most girls in the local Youth Girls competition but that means I can share what I have learnt over the years. I really enjoy it, but I also want a challenge, that's why I can't wait to step up to the women's side.”

Speechley was the driving force behind the youth girls competition in Darwin after she was told she couldn't play with the boys anymore after under-16s and she hopes to replicate her efforts in the Clarence but driving AFL in her school Grafton High.

The dynamic pocket rocket has spent most of her career in the centre third of the field, but a recent switch to the backline has turned up trumps and could be a permanent move.

"My whole junior AFL life I have been on the ball in the middle of the field,” she said. "I just love getting my hands on the footy, and getting the side out of danger.

"My last game I did move to the defensive line and dad was really impressed so it might be something I stick with for a while.”

With a lack of training opportunities for the North Coast women, it will be a bit of an unknown heading into the match against Ballina Bombers.

The game will act as a curtain raiser clash for the C.ex Group Cross Conference seniors clash between Grafton Tigers and Ballina Bombers men.

Tigers will need to build confidence by getting back to the basics that served them well in the early rounds if they are to overcome a strong Bombers outfit.

The break for the long weekend will have helped a number of the side overcome niggling injuries and should be able to put a strong team on the paddock.

The women's clash kicks off today at 12.50pm at Ellem Oval before seniors play at 2.20pm.

Topics:  afl afl north coast afl women aussie rules ballina bombers grafton tigers