INAUGURAL AFL Southern NSW captain Clare Lawton says it will be a dream come true to lead the women’s representative team out for the first time on Saturday.
On the back of the success of the AFL Women’s (AFLW) competition at national level, ladies will be given their opportunity to shine at representative level on Saturday’s interleague program at Robertson Oval.
A combined Southern NSW team has been selected from the likes of Riverina Lions, Cootamundra, Albury and the Wagga Academy to take on AFL Canberra in a first for the women’s game.
Lawton competed in the inaugural AFLW competition with Greater Western Sydney (GWS) earlier this year and has been appointed as captain of the Southern NSW team.
“It’s unbelievable to be honest,” Lawton said.
“I didn’t really think we would ever have this kind of competition, let alone to be captain. It’s amazing that it’s come this far and role is a dream come true.”
Respected Farrer League premiership coach Matt Carroll has been appointed coach of the Southern NSW team.
The squad has had a couple of training sessions in preparation for Saturday.
With many girls playing for the first time, Lawton is under no illusion how difficult the task is for the home team.
“Canberra are going to be really strong, I think a few of the girls will be in for a little bit of a shock when we have got a lot of girls that haven’t really played at that level,” she said.
“Canberra is an established competition, but not to worry, win, lose or draw, it’s about developing as a community and with games like this we’re doing that and it’s a positive step in the right direction.
“It’s good, we’ve got girls from netball, soccer and other sports that have seen what’s happened with AFLW and want to give our game a go.
“We’ve got a developing side, some girls are only 15, 16, and hopefully in a couple of years they will be playing at AFLW level, which will be really good for the region.”
Lawton said while Southern NSW will not boast a ‘physically imposing’ team, she believes the team’s fitness and speed will be an undeniable strength.
AFL Southern NSW women’s representative squad
Albury: Sally Lynch, Bec Guglielimo, Gab Goldsworthy, Claudia Baily, Georgette Meunier
Hay: Ruby Stewart, Jodie Hicks
Riverina Lions: Kahli Abbott, Clare Lawton, Eliza Oates, Amy Coote, Elisa Pevere
Cootamundra: Gypsie Potts, Caitlin Albert, Michaela Perceval, Tymyka Perceval
Wagga Academy: Amy Kowski, Millie Gentle, Gabby Suckling, Mikayla Jones, Lisa Kennedy, Maddy Czubara
Southern NSW will play AFL Canberra at 1pm on Saturday.