The Murray Bushrangers have announced their Girls U18 and Futures (U16) squad for 2019 with two Yarrawonga locals selected.
17-year-old Zali Peters and 16-year-old Tayla Sampson have both been selected for the Under 18 squad who are preparing for their round one match against Northern Knights at RAMS Arena, Craigieburn on Saturday, March 2.
Both Zali and Tayla said they are excited to see what this season will bring and are committed to the high training and work load the Murray Bushrangers bring.
“This footy season is by far the most exciting time of the year being selected in the Girls U/18 Murray Bushrangers squad. To be a part of the squad involves huge dedication and commitment while training under great leadership from head coach Tim Madden along with local Female Talent Coordinator, Briana Cossar,” Peters said.
“I am proud to be a part of a learning environment where each player improves through hard work and determination and
I’m looking forward to our first practice match on Saturday, February 16 at Rumbalara against the Bendigo Pioneers.
“My first season with Yarrawonga Pigeons last year opened up exciting opportunities in such a fast-growing sport and I couldn’t have done it without my friends and family supporting me and motivating me to work hard and achieve my goals.
“I am extremely grateful to have been selected in the 2019 Murray Bushrangers squad and I am excited to see the player I become over the next few years and hopefully play AFLW in the future.”
Tayla agreed wholeheartedly and reiterated Zali’s comments, saying the calibre of players before her that have been drafted to the AFLW from the Bushrangers just motivates her even more.
“It’s very surreal to be in the squad,” Sampson said.
“It’s such a privilege to work with such talented girls and also amazing coaches/staff.
“The preseason training is hard but being surrounded by other players makes you push just that little bit harder. It’s good to see that female football is growing.
“I hope to be able to play AFLW in the future, especially seeing past Bushranger girls drafted makes you want to play the highest level of football.”
Former Yarrawonga Youth Girls coach turned Murray Bushrangers Female Talent Coordinator, Briana Cossar said it was great to see the female game pick up and explained it was a rigorous process in selecting the squad.
“It’s fantastic to see that females now have an opportunity and choice to play football which has been evident in the rapid increase in participation over the past couple of years, just how popular our national sport is amongst females,” Cossar said.
“We had some 150 preseason nominations for our trial game in September last year and more than 80 young females from across the region have participated in the elite level football training program over the past three months.
“This has included AFLW testing components and intra club games throughout the pre-season program to ensure players have both the football and athletic attributes to perform in the elite U18 competition.
“Some players travel three hours one way just to attend weekly training sessions in Wangaratta on Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings, it’s a testament to not only their dedication, but the dedication, commitment and sacrifices their parents make in getting the girls to training each week, a special thank you to them.
“It’s also fantastic to have the continued support of the Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort as one of our major sponsors for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.”
The Bushrangers celebrated the launch of their 2019 season with a training day and jumper presentation at Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort on Saturday, February 2 with 18 clubs from across the North East Border, Goulburn Murray and Southern NSW regions represented within the squad of 52 players also comprising of 23 ‘futures’ (under 16) players.
“This highlights the strong growth in community football programs and dedicated coaches and volunteers who all help provide a terrific platform, developing the girls into football players and preparing them for the elite football program we provide,” Cossar said.
“It’s exciting to have two local girls, Tayla and Zali that only took up football 12 months ago and are now part of our program.
“They have improved over the preseason and have been working really hard. I’m sure their efforts will be rewarded throughout the season.
“The U18 competition is also the strongest feeder for elite level AFL and AFLW drafts, if there’s any other local girls out there aspiring to take their football to another level, the best thing they can do is get involved with the Yarrawonga youth girls, learn the basic skill set and fundamentals of the game and continue to develop these throughout the upcoming season.”
New Bushrangers Coach Tim Madden rehighlighted the difficult selection process.
“It was a very difficult selection process with the high standard of players and credit to all the girls junior football clubs for developing the girls football skills,” Madden said.