AFL Barwon Women’s team of the year announced
THE AFL Barwon Women’s team of the year has been announced, featuring several players from Bellarine and Surf Coast clubs.
Barwon Heads Football Club was well represented with three of their players making the team. T
hey finished fourth on the ladder in Division 1, after they dramatically won Division 2 the previous season by winning both the semi-final and final by a single point.
Kristie-Lee Drake has continued as Barwon Heads co-captain this season along with Emma Allen, who was also in the team of the year.
Drake said both the club’s brilliant finish last season and the responsibility of being captained motivated her to play even harder.
“You want to prove there’s a reason you’re the captain,” Drake said, adding that she was particularly proud to be captain of a club with such an inclusive atmosphere.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from, who you are, or what you can do.”
Her teammate, Candace Harrison-Smith, agreed wholeheartedly with this.
She moved clubs at the start of the season and was impressed by the team’s fantastic culture, saying “it’s by far the best club I’ve ever been a part of”.
Despite enjoying playing for her new club, Harrison-Smith’s season did have some difficulties, as she missed a handful of matches due to two separate concussions.
But she still accumulated enough points to make the AFL Barwon team of the year.
Harrison-Smith said she was delighted to be part of the team.
“It’s an incredible feeling, especially considering how much talent there is in the league.”
This is perhaps true more than any previous year, as shown by Torquay’s Sophie O’Meara also being named in the team of the year despite it being her first ever season playing football.
She said she was very proud to have made the team.
“I was wrapped to be selected. It was a bit of a shock.”
O’Meara had always had an interest in the football but had not previously had the opportunities to play.
She recalls trying to join the year 12 football side when she was at school but being disallowed because they only accepted boys into the side.
Yet this season marked the first time Torquay have fielded a women’s side, and interest has grown to the point where they may be able to field a second one next year.
Drysdale have also taken some notable strides this season.
They narrowly missed out on the Division 2 finals last year, but are in the grand final this season having finished second on the ladder.
From their side, both Gabrielle Deller and Melissa Egan have been selected for the team of the year.
Deller said that she felt her selection was representative of how the team has done as a whole, saying that to be selected was “humbling and very rewarding”.
Deller also said that one of the highlights of the season for her was seeing Egan win the award for the most goals.
Egan had been deadly this season, having kicked 61 goals, 16 more than anyone else in the league. Drysdale play North Geelong on Sunday August 18 to see who is crowned Division 2 champion.