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09 September 2020
Rising Wimmera footballers Isabella Simmons and Maggie Caris will go under the sporting microscope later this year after winning invitations to attend AFLW and AFL National Draft Combines.
The girls, who play for Greater Western Victoria Rebels in the state’s under-18 and primary women’s pathway competition, are now awaiting word on times and venues for the elite assessment program.
Victorian combines have in the past occurred at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne but AFL Victoria is yet to confirm details based on COVID-19 limitations.
Simmons and Caris, both in year 12, also play in Western Victoria Female Football League, Simmons for Ararat Storm and Caris for Horsham Saints.
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Caris, 17, who attends school at Ballarat Grammar and also has a history as an elite-level junior netballer, said getting the invitation to take part in the program was exciting.
“It’s just a great opportunity. I’m still playing netball and footy and will keep them going together for as long as I can. I’ll wait and see what comes out of this year and see if I can still do both,” she said.
“Each state has announced players who have invites to attend combines and Victoria is the only one yet to confirm a date.
“Hopefully we will get some confirmation in the next few days.
“Whatever happens I’m still training and staying motivated. I have to stay fit and be training and match ready.”
Simmons, 18, who attends Stawell Secondary College, came up through under-14 ranks with Stawell in Wimmera league and also has a background in junior athletics.
A Vic Country representative, she has played for the Rebels for the past three years where she has consistently put her running midfield and ball-using ability on display.
The left-footer said she was looking forward to attending the Victorian combine.
“It is awesome to be recognised. I’m super keen to go and do the best I can and have fun,” she said.
“It is an amazing opportunity and would be really good experience if I could turn the opportunity into a reality.
“It would be pretty cool to play AFLW. I would just love to play at that level. It would be nice to be picked up by any club.”
AFL Wimmera Mallee area manager Jason Muldoon said AFL combines provided the setting for prospective AFL players to put their physical and psychological skills to the test.
“It’s also a place where AFL club recruiting staff members have a chance to have a general chat with prospective recruits from across the country,” he said.
The AFL announced 82 female and 96 male players invited to combine events across Australia.
Other Rebels Renee Saulitis and Alice Ashbury of Ballarat’s Lake Wendouree club and Nick Stevens and Harry Sharp, East Point, were also among invitees.
The entire September 9, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!