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The Northland Sports Coalition (NSC) was established in 2015 to create a forum of members (representing their sport regionally) which existed to collectively support, promote and advocate for the ongoing development of sport in Northland.

The plan was to have sport speaking and acting collectively and thereby strengthening engagement with councils, ensuring region-wide awareness of the challenges, issues and opportunities affecting the provision of sport in Northland and in turn to develop and recommend collective solutions-based initiatives to enhance regional participation in sport.

The group wanted to identify areas of common interest and advocate for regional co-operation on active recreation and sport issues and to collaborate as much as possible.

Four years have passed, and I think it is fair to say that excellent progress has been made. The NSC has driven collaboration amongst codes on projects such as Good Sports, Balance is Better, St John’s service at Kensington Park for winter codes, establishing the Northland Sports Governance Forum, creating a collaborative working group to look at the overlapping of sport seasons and success in attracting funding to employ a resource to support RSOs to make changes to their sport to ensure they are more inclusive of Māori.

There has also been collaboration on the ground between sports codes, as evidenced by Northland Cricket joining with a number of other codes in providing opportunities for young people to experience other sports beyond their own sport of cricket.

The project has involved AFL New Zealand, Northland Cricket, Touch NZ, and Hockey Northland, with skills from all four sports being delivered in joint sessions at rural Whangārei schools and in schools in Kaitaia and Rodney.

Funded through Sport NZ’s Kiwisport fund, which is administered in Northland by Sport Northland with the aim of getting more young people playing sport and being active, the multi-sport programme has been hugely successful with schools.

Northland Cricket development manager Paul Hope said he was grateful to Touch NZ, AFL NZ and Hockey Northland who have taken up the opportunity to be part of the collaborative group.

Dawn Reid, a new entrant teacher from Pamapuria School in Kaitaia was glowing about the programme.

“Our tamariki were excited to be given the opportunity to try different sports that are not commonly played in our community,” she said.

Story – Sport Northland

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The combined Central Allies and Eastern Allies teams have been named ahead of next week’s round two of the NAB AFLW under-18 Championships.

Academy players Mia King and New Zealander Killarney Morey join five of their Tasmanian teammates in the Eastern Allies side, with the remainder of the squad made up of players from NSW/ACT.

Morey is a member of the NZ Kahu Youth girls’ Australian Football squad which has an alliance with Tasmania. Earlier this year, she played for the state in the under-18 NAB League competition and has since risen through the ranks.

The Eastern Allies side was formed after a two-match series between Tasmania and NSW/ACT, and Steve Maher (NSW/ACT) has been named coach.

As has previously been the case, round one saw South Australia play two matches against Northern Territory, with the two teams now joining forces to form the Central Allies.

Sixteen of the 24-strong squad – including NAB AFLW Academy members Jaimi Tabb and Montana McKinnon – are from South Australia, while Northern Territory coach Heidi Thompson is taking the reins.

Eastern Allies Fixtures:

Monday July 8
3.00pm: Central Allies v Eastern Allies – Metricon Stadium

Wednesday July 10
12.00pm: Vic Country v Eastern Allies – Southport Football Club

Friday July 12
10.00am: Eastern Allies v Vic Metro – Bond University

CENTRAL ALLIES

Madisyn Freeman (Glenelg, South Australia)
Abbie Ballard (West Adelaide, South Australia)
Shantel Miskin-Ripia (Nightcliff, Northern Territory)
Hannah Munyard (South Adelaide, South Australia)
Dominique Carbone (Darwin Buffaloes, Northern Territory)
Kimberly Fry (Central District, South Australia)
Jaimi Tabb (Woodville-West Torrens, South Australia)
Madison Newman (West Adelaide, South Australia)
Teagan Usher (Woodville-West Torrens, South Australia)
Kiana Lee (Woodville-West Torrens, South Australia)
Bella Smith (Norwood, South Australia)
Mattea Breed (Darwin Buffaloes, Northern Territory)
Tesharna Maher (Woodville-West Torrens, South Australia)
Bella Clarke (Southern Districts, Northern Territory)
Emma Smith (West Adelaide, South Australia)
Shoneeka Abbott (Alkamilya, Northern Territory)
Indy Tahau (South Adelaide, South Australia)
Alysha Healy (Waratahs, Northern Territory)
Stephanie Williams (Darwin Buffaloes, Northern Territory)
Amber Ward (North Adelaide, South Australia)
Teah Charlton (South Adelaide, South Australia)
Montana McKinnon (South Adelaide, South Australia)
Tayla Hart-Aluni (Darwin Buffaloes, Northern Territory)
Laitiah Huynh (Central Districts, South Australia)

Coach: Heidi Thompson (Northern Territory)

EASTERN ALLIES

Paris Crelley (Lavington, NSW/ACT)
Charlie Lovell (Glenorchy, Tasmania)
Jayde Hamilton (Queanbeyan Tigers, NSW/ACT)
Abby Favell (Murray Bushrangers, NSW/ACT)
Mia King (Launceston, Tasmania)
Jemma Webster (Glenorchy, Tasmania)
Zoe Hurrell (Sydney Uni Bombers, NSW/ACT)
Jessica Whelan (Camden, NSW/ACT)
Emily Pease (Belconnen Magpies, NSW/ACT)
Olivia Edwards (Willoughby Mosman Swans, NSW/ACT)
Lillian Doyle (Grafton Tigers, NSW/ACT)
Priscilla Odwogo (Kingsborough Tigers, Tasmania)
Sophie Phillips (Bomaderry, NSW/ACT)
Brenna Tarrant (East Coast Eagles, NSW/ACT)
Olivia O’Donnell (Queenwood, NSW/ACT)
Hannah Stewart (Bendigo Pioneers, NSW/ACT)
Amy Prokopiec (Clarence, Tasmania)
Georgia Garnett (East Coast Eagles, NSW/ACT)
Tarni Evans (Queanbeyan Tigers, NSW/ACT)
Camilla Taylor (Launceston, Tasmania)
Emily Hurley (East Coast Eagles, NSW/ACT)
Eloise Hiller-Stanbrook (Dubbo, NSW/ACT)
Killarney Morey (NZ Kahu, Tasmania)
Jordyn Jolliffe (Bendigo Pioneers, NSW/ACT)

Coach: Steve Maher (NSW/ACT)

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To celebrate National Volunteer week, AFL New Zealand will highlight a couple of key volunteers within the community who give up their time to help the game grow in Aotearoa.

Craig Varcoe is another former AFL player who has recently transitioned into umpiring.

Hailing from Christchurch, Craig is passionate in his volunteer role and more opportunities will arise as he continues to progress on the pathway.

What was your background playing AFL in New Zealand?

I was first introduced to AFL in 2010 through a good friend of mine while playing Rugby in Christchurch. After a few training’s, my first game (for the Christchurch Bulldogs) took place against the Otago Riot and from the first bounce, I was hooked!

I played the 2010 and 2011 club seasons for the Christchurch Bulldogs before being selected for the Canterbury Cobra’s Under 20 team for the 2011 Under 20 NPC competition in Auckland. Following this tournament, I was delighted to be included in the AFL New Zealand Under 20’s Team to complete against a touring Australian team later that year.

My NZ debut came on 8th October 2011 alongside Canterbury AFL (CAFL) mates Sam Blackler, Josh Robles and Martin Swart.

2011 saw the Christchurch Bulldogs finish runner up in the CAFL competition and I was personally rewarded with a spot in the Canterbury Cobra’s Senior Men’s NPC squad to play in Wellington. It was a fantastic tournament with my main highlight being placed in the forward line (normally a defender) after a number of injuries for the final game against Auckland and managed to kick a goal so I was happy.

I missed the 2013 NPC after dislocating my hip in the CAFL Grand Final before returning to the field in 2014 for my final season as a player.

How was the transition from player to umpire?

A lot harder than you think! My first couple of games were spent following CAFL’s more Senior Umpires – President and 2019 AFL New Zealand Volunteer of the Year 2019 Stephen Langridge, Dave de Cuevas and Anthony Calderone – before I was allowed a whistle.

Learning and understanding the rules took a long time.

Positing on the field was hard to get used to at first. There were a number of early games where I would end up close to the contest before someone would yell “Ump, get out of the way!”

Craig Varcoe (Back row, middle) represented Canterbury at provincial level in 2011.

What is the drive and motivation to want to continue volunteer umpiring?

It’s a wonderful experience being out in the middle of the ground and watching the progression and development of players, their skills and the game in New Zealand. A prime example of this is impact the 2018 Level Two AFLNZ Academy players had during the 2019 NZ AFL Premiership season.

Finally, I loved playing the game – the banter, friendships and on-field competition is something that will stay with me for life. Whether it was at club, provincial or national level games could only happen if there was an umpire(s), and since I can no longer play, umpiring allows me to give back to the game and provide others with the same experiences and opportunities that I have enjoyed through the sport.

 

What have been some of the highlights in your umpiring career?

The 2018 ANZAC Series in Wellington is one memorable highlight. It was my first taste of International footy and it did not disappoint!

Alongside my good mate Tim Stevens, we controlled the first of two games for the NZ Level Two Academy team against a well drilled Mornington Peninsula. Tim has been guiding hand in my umpiring development and it was an absolute honour to be out in the middle with him.

The second NZ Level Two Academy game during 2019’s ANZAC series against Mornington Peninsula would have to be the other biggest highlight. It was tight game right from the first bounce with both teams trading goals for the full 80-minutes. With scores level heading into the final minute of play, it took something very special from Mornington to set up a mark inside 50 with a kick after the siren to win the game. The intensity of the game and the crowd atmosphere made this a fantastic game to umpire!

The introduction of the women’s round during the 2019 AFL New Zealand Premiership was also a very exciting and it was fantastic to be out in the middle as the two teams did battle on a very wet, cold and windy Auckland morning.

How has AFL New Zealand assisted you in the role?

The AFL New Zealand Premiership has been an invaluable resource in the development of not just myself but all umpires in New Zealand. To have an opportunity to consistently umpire the best AFL players throughout the country in physical and pressured games ensures that we get to experience and practice for higher honours – like the International ANZAC series.

Although young, the AFLNZ Umpires Pathway provides great assistance and resources to help entry level umpires get out and to the middle of the field. This includes bringing Senior AFL and VFL rostered umpires to NZ as part of the ANZAC series during 2019.

A special mention must also go out to all the players and coaches involved in CAFL and the AFLNZ Premiership. Thank you for the respect and patience that you show myself and other umpires as we strive to develop our knowledge and skills of the game to provide you with higher quality umpiring.

Thank you to everyone at AFL NZ for their commitment and dedication to the game and the opportunities they create for players, coaches and umpires alike.

What’s next/ what do you want to achieve in umpiring?

Personally, umpiring the NZ Senior Men’s ANZAC game against the AFL Academy is my biggest goal and something that I am working to achieve.

Outside of this, the continual development of a national AFL Umpires Pathway in partnership with AFLNZ and provinces is my other main focus. Whether it’s ex-players or new friends to AFL in NZ, opening up and promotion umpiring as an opportunity is vital in ensuring the games longevity and expansion in New Zealand.

National Volunteer Week celebrates the collective contribution of the 1.2 million volunteers who enrich Aotearoa New Zealand.

For more information, head to www.nationalvolunteerweek.nz

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Killarney Morey will have to travel a bit further than expected for her sporting endeavours next month. That’s fine by her, though.

Instead of heading down the road to Invercargill, Australia’s sparkling Gold Coast will be her destination.

The 18-year-old student had originally been preparing for the under-19 netball championships, her first with Dunedin.

However, after being selected for the Eastern Allies under-18 AFL team – a combined Tasmania and New South Wales team – she made a quick change of plans.

It is not that she prioritises one over the other.

She has played for New Zealand in both sports and was part of this year’s Southern Blast netball team – the feeder team to the Steel.

But having played in the Australian national competition with Tasmania – which New Zealand has an association with – this represented a step up in her AFL career.

She would play against three other combined state teams from July 6 to 12 and would be seen by top level scouts.

”I try to balance both,” she said.

”But this is a one-off opportunity.

”All the AFLW recruiters will be watching this tournament.

”If I’m ever going to get drafted, it’d be a good time to get seen, whereas I’ll still be under-19 next year, so I can play that again, hopefully.”

Originally from Auckland, Morey has already carved an impressive junior career in both sports.

She began playing netball at a young age and was in the midcourt of a strong Epsom Girls’ Grammar team.

On top of that she captained her Auckland age-grade representative teams.

AFL came into the picture when she started secondary school and a teacher suggested she could play for New Zealand if she trialled.

As the sport did not attract too many players, her athleticism helped her get picked.

She learnt to kick and skills such as marking balls had crossover with netball.

On top of playing for New Zealand, she has played for Tasmania in 2017 and 2019, missing last year due to netball.

It was netball that helped lure her south as well.

Not knowing what she wanted to do upon leaving school, she applied for various universities.

Otago offered a scholarship and an email from coach Lauren Piebenga suggesting she should trial for the Blast both proved key factors in her decision.

Making that team – and playing for it – had been a great experience.

The physicality had been a step up, and being part of a high performance environment had been a valuable experience.

She has now just finished the first semester of first-year health science and returned to Auckland yesterday afternoon.

Next year she plans to return to Dunedin, although that could change if she was drafted to the AFLW.

Story – Otago Daily Times

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To celebrate National Volunteer week, AFL New Zealand will highlight a couple of key volunteers within the community who give up their time to help the game grow in Aotearoa.

Tim Stevens is New Zealand’s most qualified umpire and has been involved in a volunteer role within the AFL community for the past 12 years.

He has umpired in every ANZAC game between New Zealand and the AFL Academy since 2012 and recently travelled to Melbourne to umpire the game between the NZ Falcons vs the AFL Academy at Marvel Stadium in April.

Tim umpiring on Marvel Stadium in April 2019.

What was your background playing AFL in New Zealand?

I started playing at 19 between soccer and cricket seasons and fell in love with the game straight away.

I was lucky enough to represent the New Zealand Falcons in 1999,2002,2005 and 2006.

The obvious highlight for me was winning the AFL International Cup on the MCG in 2005 but I’ve played with some fantastic players at Club, Representative and International level and the mates you make as players last a lifetime.

How was the transition from playing to then volunteer umpiring?

It was much smoother than I expected. I really didn’t know if I’d enjoy it at first but it gave me a chance to stay fit, stay in touch with the guys and give something back to the sport which had given me so much.

What is the drive and motivation to want to continue volunteer umpiring?

I love AFL. I love every level and every part of the game. I love seeing young kids fall in love with the game. I love seeing our best young talent test themselves in Australia and I love witnessing the pride players have in wearing the NZ Falcons guernsey.

What have been some of the highlights in your umpiring career?

Umpiring the New Zealand games have been the highlight for me.

I’ve been lucky enough to Umpire on Westpac Stadium in Wellington and was given the opportunity in April this year to officiate the NZ Falcons and AFL Academy game on Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.

I wasn’t lucky enough to have my two boys see me play but it was pretty special having them come and watch me umpire this year.

How has AFL New Zealand assisted you in the role?

AFL New Zealand have given me all my footy opportunities.

They create opportunities at every level including resources, training and development .

Over the last 25 years the level of professionalism and the dedication of the staff at AFL New Zealand continues to get better and better. 

What do you want to achieve in umpiring?

Having had the opportunity to umpire with VFL (Victorian Football League) level umpires I now know there isn’t such a big gap so I would like to officiate at that level one day.

I’d love to keep improving my fitness level and try to mirror the development program for VFL umpires and eventually bring that experience back and develop emerging umpires in NZ.

National Volunteer Week celebrates the collective contribution of the 1.2 million volunteers who enrich Aotearoa New Zealand.

Fore more information, head to www.nationalvolunteerweek.nz

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NZ Kahu member Killarney Morey is just one step away from realising her dream of playing AFLW after being selected in the 2019 Eastern Allies squad for the U18 AFLW championships on the Gold Coast.

After impressing the selectors playing for Tasmania during round 1 of the Champs in early June, Morey was one of seven females selected from Tasmania to take part in the next round in July.

The Allies squad is made up of the best players from Tasmania and NSW/ACT and will face the Central Allies, Victoria Country and Victoria Metro over a 5 day period starting July 8.

AFL New Zealand CEO Robert Vanstam says Killarney’s selection is a strong endorsement for the female talent pathway.

“AFL New Zealand has been working hard to provide a better pathway for Females in New Zealand to reach the heights of AFLW.”

“Killarney is a talented athlete who has worked hard for her selection in the Allies squad”

Tasmania Academy coach Trent Bartlett said this contingent were all deserving of the opportunity.

“Through strong NAB League and U18 AFLW Championships performances, these girls have all shown that they have what it takes to compete at a high level,” he said.

Talent scouts from each of the AFLW clubs will be on hand to view the championships and will be looking at potential players for October’s AFLW Draft and Rookie List spots.

Each AFLW Club has 3 Rookie spots available on their player list. Players eligible must not have been involved in an AFLW high-performance program.

Currently 25 Rookie spots are still open.

Eastern Allies Fixtures:

Monday July 8
3.00pm: Central Allies v Eastern Allies – Metricon Stadium

Wednesday July 10
12.00pm: Vic Country v Eastern Allies – Southport Football Club

Friday July 12
10.00am: Eastern Allies v Vic Metro – Bond University

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The fifth edition of the Upper Valley Cluster AFL KiwiKick Tournament took place at Trentham Memorial Park in Upper Hutt, Wellington.

The Upper Hutt Kiwikick Cluster saw 12 teams from 8 Schools compete in the annual AFL KiwiKick Tournament.

Over 150 kids participated and the standard was high right from the start of the day with kicking and marking skills impressing the supporters who came to watch.

The day was played in great spirit as there was plenty of sportsmanship going on and massive smiles on the students faces.

All the teams developed their skills throughout the day and Pinehaven School and Totara Park School managed to take out the two grades.

Schools involved on the day:

  • Silverstream School
  • Fraser Crescent School
  • Totara Park School
  • St Joseph’s Primary
  • Trentham School
  • Nga Toa School
  • Pinehaven School
  • Plateau School

A huge praise to all the students for giving a new sport a go and having great attitudes for the entire day.

Students from Upper Hutt College who recently completed the AFL Secondary Schools ‘Coach the Coaches‘ Programme were on hand to assist with the tournament.

They assisted with:

  • Umpiring
  • Scoring
  • Timekeeping
  • Recording results
  • Coaching fun games while teams had their bye rounds

The feedback from the Primary Schools was all positive and they were impressed by the Upper Hutt College students.

Students from Pinehaven School (Front) along with Upper Hutt College Students (Back) who helped organise the day.

AFL New Zealand would like to thank David King from Activation for his help in the organisation of the tournament along with Scott Leggett from Upper Hutt College and the rest of the teachers in charge of the Primary Schools who helped get the kids involved in what was a successful tournament.

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Exciting St Kilda prospect Rowan Marshall is set to stay a Saint, signing a new three-year deal.

New Zealand born Marshall has emerged as one of the game’s most improved players in 2019, moving into the ruck and making the position his own at the Saints.

Of the 24 ruckmen who have played at least six games across the league this year, Marshall ranks second for contested possessions (10.7), second for kicks (9.3) and third for clearances (5.2) and centre clearances (2.0).

“We’re thrilled to have Rowan sign on for a further three years,” Saints List Manager James Gallagher said.

“His performances and the way he has embraced the challenge of his new role this year is reflective of the overall attitude with which he approaches his football.

“He’s a professional, determined and passionate young man, and we believe he has a really exciting future ahead of him here at the club.”

Having mixed it with some of the competition’s best this year, Marshall says his focus is on continuing to improve and give his all for the red, white and black.

“I’ve loved my time at the Saints so far and am stoked to have signed this new deal,” Marshall said.

“I feel like I’ve really learned a lot during my time, especially the past eight months or so, and I’m excited to keep growing and learning.

“I really believe in what we’re building and I’m looking forward to being part of it.”

Marshall joined the Saints with pick No. 10 in the 2017 Rookie Draft, before being elevated to the main group in 2018.

He debuted against Sydney in Rd 18 2017 and has since amassed 22 games for the club.

Story – Saints.com.au

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2019 AFL New Zealand Heritage team member Dylan Clarke had a game to remember against Carlton over the weekend.

Clarke’s phone lit up with a text message on Friday night from Essendon assistant coach James Kelly.

“Do you want to start on Cripps this week?”

Clarke, who was back in the Bombers line-up for the first time in more than a year and for only his second AFL game, was up for the challenge.

“I said ‘Absolutely, I’d love it’,” Clarke told AFL.com.au after Essendon’s 41-point win over Carlton on Sunday.

The 20 year old was a big part of the result. Playing on Carlton co-captain and midfield gun Patrick Cripps, Clarke held the Brownlow Medal fancy to just 11 disposals.

Cripps had no influence on the game in what was his lowest possession tally since late in 2017, while Clarke gathered 23 disposals and laid 10 tackles in a tight-checking role that saw him also have an influence with the ball.

Clarke says he wasn’t daunted by the task, having received help from an injured teammate to prepare for Cripps.

“Jake Stringer helped me a fair bit on Saturday with how to use my body. He’s usually on the opposition’s best midfielders at the centre bounces, so he spoke to me about where to hit and when to hold space,” he said.

“I got a lot of help from the boys in terms of giving him a whack every time he runs past. Kyle Langford was really good at that. I watched some vision throughout the week of some other players who had done well.

“You have to go out with a level of confidence that you’re at a level where you can match it with anyone. That’s what our team brings and on an individual level that’s what I wanted to bring as well.”

Clarke has had to earn his opportunity at senior level.

Last week’s hamstring injuries to Dylan Shiel and Stringer opened spots for him, and with strong form at VFL level under his belt, Clarke was given his chance by coach John Worsfold.

Clarke, whose older brother Ryan was traded from North Melbourne to Sydney last year, admits there had been some frustration at not getting selected until the round 11 clash but that feedback had been consistent.

“‘Woosha’ is pretty good in terms of just being honest. Obviously, we’ve got a good core of midfielders in the senior team but he said ‘If something happens at least you’re not coming in in a rush, you’ve got the form and we’re happy to pick you’,” Clarke said.

“‘Shiely’ and ‘String’ did their hamstrings and I was coming off a few good weeks so got picked.

“I only got the one game last year so I definitely want to build on that and play in this team as long as I can.”

Worsfold said Clarke had been developed in the ‘run-with’ role at VFL level, and has also been tagged himself there.

“Dyl’s role was specifically at stoppages to be tight on Cripps, make it hard for him and affect his disposal if you can,” he said.

“We know Cripps is maybe the best in the competition at [getting] the first possession and clearances, and maybe the [wet] conditions helped a little bit.

“But Dyl did everything we asked him to do and didn’t get too bogged down on chasing him, he still played his role for us.”

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New Zealand Kahu, Jaimee Wyatt and Killarney Morey will travel to Sydney tomorrow morning to represent Tasmania at the 2019 AFL Women’s U18 National Championships.

The pair were selected on their performance when they played for Tasmania in the NAB League (Formerly TAC Cup) in April where they were both among the team’s best.

The 2019 NAB AFLW Under 18 Championships will commence on Friday, May 31 and will conclude on Friday, July 12.

Killarney Morey in action for Tasmania

Tasmanian coach Trent Bartlett said the squad is full of talent.

“The group has shown great promise across three NAB League Girls Exhibition Matches.”

“These games have been terrific preparation for the Under 18 Championships, particularly as it has allowed the group to travel, prepare and play as a team,” he said.

The Championships will be played in two rounds. After the first round, the Central Allies (NSW/ACT & Tasmania) and Eastern (South Australia and Tasmania) Allies teams will be selected.

After coming away from Melbourne with more experience, Morey and Wyatt will look to make an impact during the championship where there will be AFLW scouts on hand to view the girls.

Jaimee Wyatt has emerged as one of the best Female players in the country after continuing to develop her game over the past four seasons.

The 2019 AFL New Zealand Female Player of the Year is excited about returning to play for Tasmania and will relish the opportunity to play with the next generation of AFLW players.

Killarney is one of the top female players in the country and knows how to take control of the game. A strong runner with great skills, Morey has high hopes of playing AFLW in the future.

Game 1:

NSW/ACT v Tasmania

Blacktown International Sports Park

Friday May 31, 7:00pm AEST

Game 2:

NSW/ACT v Tasmania

Blacktown International Sports Park

June 2 10:00am AEST

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