8 November 2017
Maribyrnong Sports Academy leads the way in AFLW Talent.
With the drafting of dual Basketball and AFLW star Monique Conti to the Western Bulldogs in the 2017 AFLW draft, the number of current and ex-students to be playing in the AFLW is now five.
Monique Conti and Libby Birch are at the Western Bulldogs, Stacey Barr is playing with Fremantle, Aliesha Newman is at Melbourne and Eliza Hynes is in her first season at Collingwood. All five players have benefited from the Athlete Development Program at the Maribyrnong Sports Academy.
Academy Sports Director Mark McAllion says the school is very proud of the achievements of our AFLW Pioneers, “We are really proud as a school to have been associated with these young women. Considering none of them came through the Academy as AFL players, to be drafted by AFLW clubs shows their versatility and determination not only as Athletes but also as people.”
“The fact that these women have all had outstanding careers in their chosen sport and now will hopefully have a long term career in the AFLW shows that our Sports Academy can help our Athletes build more than one pathway for their future.”
"We look forward to the tradition continuing with up to 20 girls from years 7 to 11 being a part of our wider AFL program for 2018."
Stacey, Libby and Aliesha were all part of the inaugural season of the AFLW, while Eliza and Monique will join their respective clubs for the second season of the competition. And each lady has a great story to tell
Aliesha Newman was in the Maribyrnong Sports Academy for our Soccer program, and like the other four ladies, all played or are playing other sports at a representative level. Aliesha’s sister Tegan recently represented Australia in the Oceania weightlifting championships
For Stacey Barr getting the opportunity to play in the AFLW came after a successful college stint in America playing Basketball and then 2 years on the roster at the Perth Lynx in the WNBL.
Libby Birch was a State League Netballer who hadn’t played a game of football until the middle of 2017. For Libby the disappointment of not making the World Cup youth netball squad was enough to tip her into a new sporting path. “I’m a very passionate team sport person and I definitely want to be a dual-sport athlete.”
“I’m hoping to combine my Western Bulldogs opportunity and try to balance that with my netball aspirations,” she said.
Eliza Hynes joins Collingwood as a second-ruck option after a successful volleyball career. The 25-year-old has spent time playing professionally in Europe, and also representing Australia before turning her attention to football.
Meanwhile Monique has become a household name in Basketball circles and also the junior football ranks. As a basketballer she was a member of the world champion women’s u17’s Basketball team, being named as a starting member of the All Star line up as well as being named the WNBL’s Rookie of the year in 2017. As a footballer Monique has won numerous awards as a junior, including a best on ground performance at the AFL Youth Girls All-Star Match
Maribyrnong Sports Academy high performance manager Brent Vallance says it’s not surprising athletes from the college are able to excel in two sports at a professional level, “Our Athlete development program is a general all-round development program enhancing all qualities valued by the AFLW. Speed, Strength, Power, Coordination, flexibility and agility. There is no coincidence that they come from team sports and often the training they have done here transfers well into other sports. They were all identified as talented athletes in their selected sport when they came into the school and all excelled at state and national level in another sport.”
The first opportunity our girls will get to play against each other is when the Bulldogs take on the Dockers at Whitten Oval in round 1 of the 2018 season.
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