ON THE BALL: Bendigo girls in form at carnival

IT has been an action-packed fortnight in youth girls’ football, filled with achievement and unprecedented results.

I was lucky to accompany the Bendigo side as they toured Ballarat and Melbourne to play in the Subway Shield under-18 competition.

In its first match, Bendigo took on Geelong on Sunday, April 6.

Bendigo had a rushed start to the game and Geelong took full advantage, kicking two unanswered goals in the first five minutes.

Bendigo displayed a solid third and fourth quarter of football, but the damage had been done in the first two quarters.

Final score Bendigo 2.4 (16) lost to Geelong 7.8 (50). Best players: A. Kemp, M. Neal, C. Sadler, R. Campbell, C. Memusour, A. Rooth. Goals: A. Kemp 2.

The following day, the girls came up against some tough competition from Goulburn Valley.

Bendigo came out firing, the ball movement was impressive and we maintained our intensity all game.

Final score: Bendigo 4.7 (31) d Goulburn Valley 2.5 (17). Best: T. Cochrane, C. Reeves, A. Tupper, C. Eldin, B. Eyles. Goals: A. Kemp 2, C. Reeves, T. Cochrane.

Bendigo’s last game for the carnival was against Ballarat to play off for third position.

The teams had met in a practice match prior to the carnival and Bendigo had a convincing win.

However, Ballarat came out hard and did not let third spot go without making our girls work extremely hard for it.

Bendigo scored a determined 10-point win, the highest ever placing for a Bendigo youth girls team.

Final score: Bendigo 5.3 (33) d Ballarat 3.5 (23). Best: M. Neal, M. Metcalf, A. Kemp, R. Campbell, A. Tupper, C. Edlin. Goals: I. Ayre, A. Kemp, J. Sawers, T. Cochrane.

The Subway Shield Carnival saw AFL selectors watching the girls closely ahead of the announcement of the Victorian Country under-18 youth girls side.

The carnival provided selectors with the difficult task of reducing the interim squad from 35 to 27. 

Three talented Bendigo youth girls players -   Ruby Campbell, Isabella Ayre and Ainslie Kemp - were extremely excited to be selected in the team that will compete in the week-long national carnival in Canberra.

This is an outstanding achievement and well deserved by all. 

I would like to thank Bendigo and surrounding businesses and individuals who sponsored our young female footballers to participate in this carnival.

In other news, Bendigo Thunder had its first taste of the VWFL Premier Division in a practice match against the Eastern Devils at Dower Park last Sunday.

The standard with which the Eastern Devils were able to move the ball and execute their skills was highly entertaining.

Grace Campbell is the AFL Victoria-Bendigo Advertiser Female Football Ambassador. Schools interested in Grace hosting a girls' football clinic can contact Tony McNamara on 0419 103 178.

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