By JARROD POTTER
THE best of the area’s junior female footballers played a big part in Victoria Metro raising the Youth Girls National Championships in Shepparton last week.
Co-captain Ellie Blackburn, Pippa Attard, Karly Tapner, Georgia Fisher, Hayley Wildes and Lauren Hojnacki all featured in Victoria Metro’s championship victory, culminating in a 6.4 (40) to 3.7 (25) victory over Western Australia.
Victoria Metro held off Western Australia throughout the first half, before breaking the shackles to kick away in the third quarter via tall forwards Rebecca Privitelli (four goals) and Alexandra Quigley.
The booming kicks and vice-like tackling of the Metro team proved too much for Western Australia to deal with, as the Victorians charged home in the last quarter.
Privitelli got on the end of a handball from Isabele Huntington to put the icing on the game, but the final nail was almost hammered in by Blackburn, with a 50-metre booming kick unleashed towards goals, but a Western Australian fingertip stopped Blackburn getting a goal with her last kick in junior state representative football.
Blackburn was impressed with the team’s work – seeing off an early barrage from the Western Australians to take the trophy – a relief for the team to maintain Victoria’s unbeaten record at the carnival.
“Just our work rate – they came at us with everything they had in the first half and we stood up to the challenge,” Blackburn said.
“Played to our structures and worked hard in the second half and won the game.
“Overwhelmed with excitement – it was a great feeling – very emotional, but we were all so excited and so relieved that we achieved everything we set out to do six months ago.”
For a carnival without reproach, Blackburn was named player of the carnival and on a half-back flank in the Youth Girls All-Australian team. The next challenge will be Victorian senior women’s team heading to the AFL Women’s National Championships in Cairns next month and for a select few players – a chance to be selected by Melbourne or Western Bulldogs at the AFL Women’s Draft tonight (Wednesday).
The draft is held from 7.30pm and streamed live on VWFL.org.au.