Huntington headlines Youth Girls All-Stars curtain-raiser

Whitten Oval will come alive this Saturday with almost 100 of the best female footy talents in the country showcasing their athleticism and skills over the course of two matches.

It all kicks off at 4:30pm with the Youth Girls All-Stars Match, during which the best players in May’s Youth Girls National Championships take centre stage in a match between team Black and team Red.

Isabel Huntington starred for Vic Metro in the 2016 Youth Girls National Championships
Image: George Salpigtidis

The star player that will draw plenty of attention is 17-year-old Isabel Huntington, who blitzed the Championships’ Grand Final at the MCG with a stellar 30 touches and five goals.

Speaking to Girls Play Footy, the Melbourne University footballer said that night at the ‘G is still etched in her mind.

“It’s pretty memorable, an experience that’s hard to forget,” Huntington said.

“Running out on the ‘G and winning a National Championship in your home state, it’s still very fresh in the mind.”

The good times for Huntington have not ended since that night at the home of football, with success being found at both Youth Girls and senior level for the Mugars star.

“I’ve played Youthies and we won a premiership just a few weeks ago, which was a nice feeling also.

“I’ve also been playing some senior footy … just in the [VWFL] Premier Division.

“We’re in the finals at the minute and it’s a really good challenge for me to step up into, and I’ve been enjoying every minute of it.”

Huntington’s next challenge will be pulling on the jumper for the Black team on Saturday under the leadership of West Australian coach Clint Degebrodt.

Some of her teammates for the day will include such talented footballers as Queensland’s Shaelise Law and South Australia’s Ashleigh Woodland, just to name a couple.

“[Kate Bartlett] is definitely a big name. Kicked a few bags early in the week of the carnival and did well, so it’ll be exciting to see her.

“Maddi Prespakis, she’s young and [has] great potential for the future.

“Courtney Hodder was the player of the carnival; she’s lightning fast yet moves so well with the ball.”

Although Huntington’s team is packed with talent, the same can be said for the rival Red team, which will have Lily Mithen and Deanna Berry.

“Jordyn Allen, who was vice-captain of Vic Metro, she’s been in it for a few years, such a reliable player and really great down back,” Huntington highlighted.

“[Monique] Conti, she’s amazing, she plays with me down at Melbourne Uni. Australian basketballer and a fantastic footballer as well.

For some of the talent on show, a spot on an AFL club’s list for 2017 awaits come the draft on October 12; however, with Huntington being 17 (eligible players must be 18 or over), it’s another year for her in the Youth Girls system.

Meanwhile, she says she’s keen to be involved behind the scenes with one of the four Victorian AFL women’s teams to get a taste of what may await her in 2018.

“Next year’s going to be pretty busy with football for me, but if the opportunity arises I’d love to get involved with one of the clubs.

“It will be great to see the league kick off finally and how it all unfolds.”

The NAB Youth Girls All-Stars Match is this Saturday, September 3 at VU Whitten Oval in Footscray, to be followed by the televised All-Stars Match. The game starts at 4:30pm, entry is free and will also be live streamed through the AFL Community website.

Team Black
1. Kalinda Howarth (Labrador/Coolangatta, QLD)
2. Maddison Prespakis (Sunbury, VIC)
3. Tiahna Cochrane (Castlemaine, VIC)
4. Isabel Huntington (Melbourne Uni, VIC)
5. Shaelise Law (Zillmere, QLD)
6. Reni Hicks (Kyabram, VIC)
8. Anna Hayes (Melbourne Uni, VIC)
9. Ruby Blair (Burleigh, QLD)
10. Daria Bannister (Launceston, TAS)
13. Kate Bartlett (Peel Thunderbirds, WA)
15. Tayla McAuliffe (Swan Districts, WA)
16. Ashleigh Woodland (Salisbury, SA)
18. Courtney Hodder (Peel Thunderbirds, WA)
19. Laura Bella (Bakers Creek QLD)
21. Sabreena Duffy (Peel Thunderbirds, WA)
22. Anne Hatchard (Morphettville Park, SA)
23. Sonia Dorizzi (South Fremantle, WA)
24. Ebonee Hardie (Peel Thunderbirds, WA)
27. Emily Browning (Lyndhurst, VIC)
29. Zania Rice (Greenacres, SA)
31. Georgia Walker (Rye, VIC)
33. Taylor Mesiti (Deer Park, VIC)
39. Jas Grieson (Whitehorse, VIC)

Team Red
1. Emily Rylance (Dandenong, VIC)
2. Haneen Zrieka (Auburn, NSW/ACT)
3. Erin McKinnon (Mosman, NSW/ACT)
4. Lily Mithen (North Geelong, VIC)
6. Monique Conti (Melbourne Uni, VIC)
5. Beatrice Delvyn (South Fremantle, WA)
7. Alyce Parker (Riverina, NSWACT)
9. Gabby Collingwood (Jindalee, QLD)
10. Arianna Clark (Coolangatta, QLD)
11. Brooke Struylaart (Beaconsfield, VIC)
12. McKenzie Dowrick (Coastal Titans, WA)
13. Katherine Smith (Blackburn, VIC)
16. Jordyn Allen (Rye, VIC)
17. Deanna Berry (Montmorency, VIC)
18. Kate Stanton (Wollongong, NSW/ACT)
20. Olivia McFawn (St Mary’s VIC)
27. Rachel Ashley (Perth, WA)
31. Emily McGuire (Swan Districts WA)
32. Isabella Ayre (Huntly, VIC)
37. Jasmin Stewart (Claremont, WA)
47. Charis Ulu Peniata (Parkmore, VIC)

For the full interview with Isabel Huntington, plus our chat with Shelley Ware of the Marngrook Footy Show, discussion regarding national league player payments with journalist Erin Riley and preview of the 2016 East West Showdown over in America, check out the 50th installment of the Girls Play Footy Podcast!

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