The Tasmanian Under 17 Girl’s State team have flown out and are set to kick off their 2017 NTC challenge campaign. The tournament will be held at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra with FFA’s scouting and development staff in attendance to try and identify future National Team and W-League players.
Tasmania is set to send a strong squad with the bulk of the side already regular starters in the PFD Women’s Super League. Captain of the side, Zoe Horgan, is already a lynch pin of the Taroona midfield, whilst Launceston City Striker Keilin Fagan is the competitions 4th highest goalscorer having scored 15 goals this season. Others such as Bonnie Davies and Olivia Bomford have plenty of senior football experience, playing key roles in Olympia’s title winning side in 2016. They now get the chance to show their talent off on the national stage.
The 4 days of competition against the other State Federations starts on Monday, with the Tasmanian team set to play 5 games in total, with a rest day on the Wednesday where the footballer’s will be involved with off field education sessions.
The Tasmanian side begin their week against Football Western Australia Monday, before taking on South Australia and Victoria on Tuesday. They will then be placed in a Play-off game on Thursday. The final day, on Friday, there will be four teams selected from all the players attending the tournament, with only the best players making the cut.
FFT Technical Director Michael Edwards said it was an important tournament that offered a great opportunity for the girls.
“We’ve got 18 girls going away to represent the state this year, basically there to identify players for national teams and also to be identified for the W-League.”
“Obviously now there are a lot more games for our national teams, we’ve got a number of qualifiers coming up shortly within the Asian Confederation and a new National Under 17 coach appointed this week, in Rae Dower. So she will be there and looking for girls to be in that squad.”
Captain of the side, Zoe Horgan said she was excited by the opportunity playing the Challenge offered and suggested it would be a great chance for the side to measure where they were at in the National scheme development wise.
“I’m really looking forward to going away, It’s another opportunity to perform against girls across the country that are looking to do the same thing that I am, which is to perform as well as possible in the world of football.
“I’m always excited to be out on the pitch playing and it’s just extra excitement playing against better quality players. The stakes are a bit higher, but I always enjoy playing football no matter what.
“The girls from other States are there for a reason and they’ve been identified like we have as being exceptional footballers in their age groups and that’s pretty exciting.”
“It can tell you where you’re at in terms of your development and it’s obviously a benchmark of where you need to be in terms of your skill level and your quality on the ball and stuff like that.”
As a smaller state with a much smaller player pool to pick from it will be tough, but there is hope that this playing group can punch above their weight and cause some upsets. Though the ultimate aim of the tournament is development and talent identification, it’s much easier to stand out in a winning side. Both Horgan and Edwards were bullish on the sides chances.
“In terms of drive and determination and skill level we’re up there with the rest of the teams and I think we’re improving and when we go away I’m sure we’ll show as much.” said Horgan
“Twelve months ago we did very well when we participated in this tournament and I would expect that we would do well again this year.” suggested Edwards
“We’ve got a very good squad, we’ve trained well for the last 8 weeks, the clubs themselves have been doing a great job with the development of the girls.
Tasmania begins it’s campaign against Western Australia on Monday 24 July, at 3:00pm.
Isobel Davey, Clara Birch, Phoebe Clifford, Sophie Leszczynski, Bonnie Davies, Keilin Fagan, Eloise Dick, Zoe Horgan, Olivia Bomford, Stella Cruickshank, Laura Spandler, Raffaella Puli, Zola Blackwood-Coyle, Emily Heazlewood, Anneliese Gray, Olivia Gardner, Emille Tatton, Madison Chambers