Inverell’s Elle Ford and Moree’s Jess Maher will travel to the Central Coast this weekend to play in the AFL girls State Cup.
Joining her for the three day carnival will be Moree player Jess Maher.
Both girls were named in the Northern NSW Pathways division A team which sets them on the road to the new national women’s league if they keep going.
Ford has worked her way up through the ranks over many years of training.
She began playing AFL three years ago when she lived in Newcastle.
She moved to Inverell when her dad was relocated with his work 12 months ago.
Her mum Sonia said Ford’s goal was to ultimately play in the National Women’s League which will start in 2017.
It was launched recently with eight teams.
The women’s competition will run beside the national men’s competition next year and will be televised on the same night as their games.
The 16-year old attends Macintyre High and is interested in a career in sports psychology.
She hopes to increase participation and opportunities for young females in rural remote regions in their chosen sport.
So far in 2016 she has achieved a lot.
She trained with Inverell Saints seniors and U17 boys on a weekly basis and played in the Inverell Saints’ open women's gala games.
She was also selected for NSW/ACT State Academy training camp in Newcastle and was one of the final 44 selected for the NSW/ACT Swans U18 Youth Girls team, which played four matches in Canberra (2), Sydney, and Wagga.
Ford also traveled down to play as part of women’s open Nelson Bay team which won the Hunter premiership this year.
Maher has only been playing AFL for eight months, coming from a soccer background.
“She is very determined, very confident and is quite skillful coming from a soccer background,’’ her coach Duane Macey said
“She can kick off both feet which is a great skill to have – she’s a real talent.’’
She is already sponsored by AFL men’s team, the Western Sydney-based GWS but not until 2018 because she is too young for sponsorship next year.
The State Cup is her highest representative honor so far and it’s a big privilege.
AFL NSW/ACT development manager Matt Crawley said both girls had the potential to make the big time.
He said Maher was a tenacious “tackling machine” who was developing into a great player, while Ford was absolutely passionate about the game and was a strong player who read the play well and got a lot of the football.
He said they would both need to persevere and work hard but they both had the capacity to keep achieving