AFL: McFarlane's high flying mark

WATCH: Maclean's McFarlane rises above the pack

JNR SPORTSPERSON: Maclean's Brianna McFarlane has made a huge impression since joining the Coolangatta Bluebirds at the start of the 2018 Queensland Women's AFL season.

At just 17, the mobile centre-half forward has locked down a starting position in the first grade side.

"She's an absolute ripper," Coolangatta head coach Matt Bedford said.

"She got in contact with us on the Facebook page and ever since she came to training she's been a regular in the first grade team. She's just a really talented player with really good football sense. I can't speak highly enough of her."

McFarlane has also starred on the junior representative scene which sees her named Jetts Fitness Junior Sportsperson of the Month for June.

Clarence Valley products Brianna McFarlane and Georgia Breward are two rising stars who play for Coolangatta Bluebirds in the Queensland Women's AFL.
Clarence Valley products Brianna McFarlane and Georgia Breward are two rising stars who play for Coolangatta Bluebirds in the Queensland Women's AFL. Coolangatta Football Club

In her first season trialling for the squad, the former Lower Clarence Eagles junior was selected in the NSW/ACT under-18s. In June the squad played Tasmania from which McFarlane was named in a combined Eastern Allies side to play at the National AFL Under 18 Championships on the Gold Coast next week.

An untimely ankle injury has McFarlane in a race against the clock to be fit for the tournament.

"Brianna's presently in a moonboot nursing an ankle injury, so we're not quite sure of her availability for the Eastern Allies," Bedford said.

"It could be stress fractures or a ligament. It progressively got worse, but she's a typical 17-year-old and just kept on going."

Her Bluebirds teammate, Grafton's Georgia Breward, was a previous Junior Sportsperson of the Month in 2017. She was also in the NSW/ACT under-18s, but is also battling injury woes. Breward is facing an extended stint on the sidelines to undergo knee surgery.

"We have high hopes for Georgia," Bedford said.

"She was a really good chance of getting drafted this year (into the AFLW) before the injury happened. But she's about to undergo a full knee reconstruction which will put her back at least 12 months.

"She's a different style of player to Brianna. A bit lower to the ground, she just hunts the football and is a really good user of it."

The highlight of McFarlane's game, meanwhile, is soaring high above the pack.

"She takes the spectacular marks and more often than not goes back and kicks a few goals and is pretty elusive as well.

"She pulled down our mark of the year."

Last month AFL NSW female football talent pathway manager Ash Moeller said Breward and McFarlane were two of the players to watch in the ACT/ NSW set-up.

"Georgia Breward is a balanced midfielder with good foot skills, and the desire and ability to tackle strongly," he said.

"As a 176cm utility, McFarlane is a strong athlete and we can't wait to see her powerful kick in action (against Tasmania)."

McFarlane is the second AFL player to be voted Sportsperson of the Month this year with 33-year-old Grafton Tigers player Luke Stanford winning the senior award for May.

Clarence Valley Sports Awards logo
Clarence Valley Sports Awards logo


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