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AFL dream alive for girls

Ashleigh Holland
Ashleigh Woodland

South Australia’s youth girls captain Ashleigh Woodland is one of hundreds of women with the new national competition on their mind.

The Parafield Gardens High Year 12 student will line up for the SA senior side against Northern Territory in a trial at Adelaide Oval on Saturday as the AFL moves closer to announcing the clubs who will play in the inaugural competition early next year.

The Adelaide Football Club and AFLNT have submitted a joint bid for one of the first licences.

“It’s very exciting, this year and next year will be big years for the girls, trying to get into the draft,” Woodland said.

“It will bring more girls (to the game). Younger girls will start playing now because there is an opportunity for them higher.”

The 17-year-old forward is playing her fourth year of football, having started in the U15s at Salisbury West before moving to Salisbury. She has played in premiership teams in each year in the system.

“At primary school I used to kick the ball out to the boys,” Woodland said. “They wouldn’t let me play with them but they let me kick to them. And then one of my friends told me to go out, and I have played ever since.”

The SA side, coached by Narelle Smith, is preparing to take on NSW/ACT in an exhibition match at Adelaide Oval on June 5, a curtainraiser to Adelaide’s AFL game against St Kilda.

This Saturday’s game starts at 4.40pm.

South Australia

1. Lexia Edwards

2. Dayna Cox

3. Kirsty Degabriele

4. Justine Mules

5. Shannon Solly

6. Georgia Bevan

7. Sammie Allan

8. Jessica Edwards

9. Deni Varnhagen

10. Louella McCarthy

11. Sarah Allan

12. Ebony Marinoff

13. Ashleigh Woodland

14. Rachael Killian

15. Allison Evans

16. Caitlin Williams

18. Leah Cutting

19. Demi Sonneman

20. Nicole Mark

21. Nicola Burns

22. Courtney Cramey (c)

Northern Territory

1. Morgan Johnston

2. Claire Harper

3. Angela Foley

4. Sue Nalder

5. Danielle Ponter

6. Alana Coombes

7. Abbey Holmes

8. Kate Dean

9. Jennifer Du (SA)

10. Sally Riley

11. Leah Tynan (SA)

12. Karissa Searle (SA)

13. Lauren Motlop

14. Tayla Thorn

15. Danielle Stewart (SA)

16. Shaqkayla Bading

18. Sam Barnett

19. Amy Chittick

20. Rebekka McMahon (SA)

23. Sophia Mauboy

25. Lauren O’Shea

28. Jaylene Chevalier