Park Ridge State High School AFL girls win state title for second year in a row

PARK Ridge State High School’s junior female AFL team won the Queensland State title for the second consecutive year in the final five minutes of their final game.

The final was contested at Maroochydore with team players sourced from years seven, eight and nine.

AFL and HPE teacher Matthew Ashenden said the final was a close, physical contest.

“The highlight was probably seeing the resilience of the girls in their ability to keep concentrating and working when they were behind. We dominated the play all day and finally began to get the score on the board as the game progressed,” he said.

“It’s a wonderful achievement to win a second state title. We are the only school in girls AFL to be able to achieve that. It’s a great reward for the 6 girls who played in both this year’s and last years finals.”

The Park Ridge State High female AFL team have had a stellar two years, winning every game in 2017 and all but one clash this year.

There was a solid mix of experienced and new players with six girls from year seven.

Ashenden said the side had a strong foundation to build on for 2019.

“Our Year nine girls get to take two years of success into their senior girls footy and we have an excellent group of year seven and eight students ready to take on the baton,” he said.

“We are lucky enough to have a great deal of interest in the program and enough highly skilled girls that we have entered a second team in the main AFL schools of excellence competition next year. This will allow us to expose another large group of girls to AFL.”

Vice captain and year eight student Olivia Harmer was named player of the match.

Harmer has enjoyed a successful year, winning state selection in Cairns for under 15 girls and playing for the Gold Coast Suns under 14 development squad.

She was also vice captain of the Park Ridge Pirates under 15 girls which won the premiership this year.

Ashenden paid tribute to the leadership team of the Park Ridge junior AFL girls.

“We’re really lucky to have two outstanding captains in Monet Ferris and Ruby Mann, both of them stood up to be counted when we were challenged in the final and were amongst the best players on the ground,” he said.

“Our Year nine group were brilliant, Naomi Ginn and Lucy Cojocaru were tough and composed and our vice captain, Year 8 student Olivia Harmer was adjudged best on ground after willing herself to contest after contest in sweltering heat.”