SOME of WA’s most talented female football players had the opportunity to play at the MCG in the AFL Women’s High Performance Academy’s curtain raiser for the Melbourne versus Collingwood clash. Here’s a bit more about these passionate girls.
Turbo Charged for Melbourne
You might be forgiven for thinking that a girl who wants to model herself on playing like male Melbourne Football Club player, Cameron Bruce, might be a robust “bully” type. Not so with Kiara Bowers. Nicknamed ‘Turbo’ because of her ability to power her way into and away from packs, Kiara has tried to model her game on that of Bruce’s.
“I have always been a fan of Melbourne”, commented Bowers, “with my all time favourite player being Russell Robertson.” However with respect to her own game “I really want to play like Bruce,” she said, “because I need to improve my game and he plays the way I want to get to.”
‘Turbo’ is a trim, fit, athletic young lady with a passion for improving her game in order to represent Australia one day. She plays for Southern River in the WA Women’s Football League and first represented her state in 2009 in the AFL Women’s National Championships.
Broken Leg No Setback For Randall
A lesser person would have reflected on missing a National carnival in the sport you love because of a broken leg with a degree of bitterness and sadness. Not Chelsea Randall!
After gaining 43 possessions in game one, Randall gained 7 in the first 7 minutes of the next game, only to fall across the boundary line, breaking her leg in two places. That was the end of the carnival for Chelsea and supposedly the end of any thoughts of gaining a place in the All Australian team.
Fortunately her domination was enough to get her into the 22 woman All Australian team and together with 18 other talented players from the 2009 AFL Women’s National Championships form the High Performance Academy.
Randall is a member of the Swan Districts Women’s Football Club. “I have worked really hard to get strong and fit again and am really looking forward to the 2010 season”, she commented.
Badminton on the backburner for Webbo
All Australian vice captain, Nikki Harwood, is somewhat of an enigma in women’s sport. In her youth she was Australia’s number one ranked Badminton player in singles and doubles and represented Australia in the World Cup.
So it’s difficult to imagine that a champ in a more genteel sport would then thrive in the rough and tumble of Aussie Rules football. But thrive ‘Webbo’, as team mates affectionately call her, has.
She has been in the West Australian State team four times gaining All Australian selection during three of those carnivals. Harwood, who plays in the mid field or at half forward, loved the way retired Kangaroo Glen Archer went about his business saying;
“My favorite player was Glen Archer. He was attacking and hard at every contest. Now I admire Geelong’s Paul Chapman for the way he gets the ball and gets the job done.”
Harwood is currently on leave from her Perth based job as a firefighter and is having a crack at playing football in Victoria. She has a fantastic football pedigree with her great uncle William James Truscott being named as a legend by the AFL in 1996 after a 201 game career at East Fremantle. Now Harwood is making some history of her own after being named Vice Captain of the top team in the female competition. She spoke about the opportunity saying:
“I am stoked to be named Vice Captain of the All Australian team and to have this opportunity to work with the top female footballers in Australia.”
Bentley has the ball on a string
When you see Kirby Bentley sprint down a wing bouncing the ball several times because she has dashed away from her opponent, you could be mistaken for thinking she has always played AFL.
However Bentley is only in her second year, with netball being her primary focus for most of her young life. “Netball was my life, my passion,” Bentley said, “but I didn’t know that girls could play football.”
Since commencing her football career in 2009 Bentley has quickly displayed her enormous athletic capacity. In her first year she was a member of the inaugural WA Talent Academy, played in the AFL Women’s National Championships and became an All Australian player and finished the year as her club’s Fairest and Best player for the season.
Bentley’s heritage means she is a cousin to Fremantle’s dynamic back-man, Roger Hayden. And just like Hayden she knows how to spin out of trouble, has great running speed and is calm in a crisis. Kirby really enjoys these facets of the game stating:
“I think it’s a challenging, skilful game where any player can showcase their skills and talent and something that people love to watch. And that is what I really love about playing the game.”
For more information on the AFL Women’s High Performance Academy, contact:
Jan Cooper, AFL Manager: Female Football Development