The Brisbane Lions Under 19 Girls Academy side has created history going through their Coates Talent League matches undefeated.
A 32-point win over the Calder Cannons at Highgate Recreation Reserve on Saturday, ensured the Lions would finish their season with an impressive three wins from three matches.
Lions Academy Women’s Head Coach and AFLW Premiership captain, Emma Zielke, said she was ecstatic for the team and the program.
“I am so proud of the entire team for their performance in the Coates Talent League to finish three from three,” she said.
“This success has never happened in the Brisbane Lions Academy female programs before.
“The girls have been working extremely hard over the past six months so being rewarded for their efforts was fantastic to see.”
The Lions made a statement in their opening fixture, travelling to Melbourne and downing a strong Murray Bushrangers side.
To come away with two wins away from home was one of the shining lights in a successful campaign according to Zielke.
“Playing two games in Victoria and one on our home deck against three quality Victorian teams and coming away with a win in each, was a huge accomplishment for our program,” she said.
“The development and growth of all of our girls from night one of training up until the game they played on Saturday was tremendous.
“They were always willing to give everything a go, they know what it takes to become an athlete and it doesn’t just happen out on the football field.”
The Lions home win came against the Sandringham Dragon by nine points in their second match.
Laura Roy had a strong season kicking a goal per game and averaged 20 disposals in the wins over Sandringham and Calder.
Jacinta Baldwick was another who impacted the scoreboard with majors against the Dragons and the Cannons while averaging 19 touches.
Also a tackling machine, Baldwick laid 14 tackles in three games including seven against Calder.
Key forward Rania Crozier opened her season with two goals against the Murray Bushrangers and followed up with a goal in each of the other two matches.
A strong aerial threat, Crozier is praised for her work rate by the coaching staff and her ability to run in both directions.
Utility Sophie Peters was used in many different ways across the three games including on ball, up forward and on the wing.
Averaging 12 possessions and kicking two goals, Peters was another player who impacted in the contest and on the scoreboard.
Brooke Sheridan spent the past 14 months rehabilitating an ACL injury but burst onto the scene against Murray kicking three majors in a dominant performance.
Goals against Sandringham and Calder demonstrated her ability to be a constant threat in every game she played.
A strong showing from a number of players showcased the development pathway that the academy provides and one that Zielke hopes will stay with the playing group.
“We hope they take what they have learnt on and off the field from our program into their own football journeys at club land or state programs and apply it at a high level,” she said.
“It’s my hope they can continue to develop the way they have in the past six months in our academy program.
“It’s been really exciting to be able to coach these young women, I’ve enjoyed every moment and I hope that I’ve been able to make even the smallest of impacts on their football journey – as it’s only just beginning.
“We will continue to work with our top level of athletes from our program across the year and help them prepare for the draft at the end of the year.
“It would bring me great joy as a coach to see a few of their names called out in December.”