Bendigo Pioneers Under-18 girls trio in All-Australian mix

THREE Bendigo Pioneers girls are in line for All-Australian selection after sparkling performances at the Under-18 Girls National Championships.

Bendigo Thunder's Aish Tupper and Woorinen duo Jordyn Jolliffe and Eden Zanker have been selected in a provisional squad of 52 players to participate in a three-day training camp, from which a final All-Australian team will be selected.

The Pioneers trio represented Victoria Country at the championships, which wound up in Queensland last week.

A win over Western Australia last Friday gave Victoria Country a perfect four wins from four matches during the championships.

The Allies, a composite team made up of players from the Northern Territory, South Australia and Tasmania, were also undefeated.

Zanker, who hails from the Tooleybuc region, earned further honours as the championships' leading goalkicker.

Shawn McCormick, who was the trio's TAC Cup Under-18 Girls coach at the Bendigo Pioneers this season, said it was terrific achievement for all three to be named in the All-Australian squad.

"The trio are passionate about their football and have worked extremely hard," he said.

"They have given themselves every chance to continue to progress to higher levels - exciting times for three very coachable girls.

"Moving forward many opportunities will abound for young females footballers in the region through the  Bendigo Pioneers TAC Cup Girls program and related feeder programs.

"These girls are great examples for those girls playing AFL football at junior level in the region who have aspirations to take their game further ”.

Tupper, who along with Jolliffe was a Pioneers vice-captain, has been a driving force in the midfield this season for the Bendigo Thunder, who sit atop the Northern Football League Women's competition, undefeated after 12 games.

She was one of four Thunder players to participate in a come and try day at Richmond Football Club earlier this month, aimed at identifying potential AFLW talent.

McCormick was confident of big things ahead for all three Pioneers girls.

"Ash is slight in build, but I would rate her as one of the most ferocious tacklers and competitors I have dealt with," he said.

"Her ball winning ability and speed and aerobic capacity give her enormous scope to continue to develop and improve.

"Jordyn has been working very hard on a variety of areas,  incorporating  many sessions within the GWS system in NSW. 

"She is a true footballer with a penetrating kick, strong hands and an  excellent ability to read the game. 

"Like Ash she displays a relentless approach at the ball."

McCormick said Zanker, who booted three goals in the win over Western Australia and two in an earlier week victory against Queensland, had enjoyed a rapid rise in football, after arriving at the Pioneers with little in the way of an Australia rules background.

She played only three TAC Cup games for the Pioneers, after making the switch from netball in March.

"Her natural athletic prowess, hand eye co-ordination and determination to work on improving all facets of her game ensures - like Jordyn and Aish -  that she has an enormous up side," he said.

"The example of Eden in crossing over to football from another sport is one which appears to be happening a lot in the present climate."

Joliffe and Zanker are teammates at Woorinen in the BJFL under-18 girls competition.

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