THE Greater Western Victoria Rebels have announced their under-18 squad for the upcoming NAB League Girls season and Portland footballers Elli Aitken and Lashay Blurton have made the cut.
39 players have been named in total with 15 returning Rebels combining with Aitken, Blurton and 22 other first-time players. Two 19-year-old players have been granted over-age permits to play alongside 12 top-age players and 25 bottom-age players.
Aitken and Blurton were both standout performers for Portland during last year’s Deakin University Female Football League under-18 season, leading the Tigers in the league’s best and fairest award vote count with 15 combined votes.
The team has also named their on-field leadership for the season, with Chloe Leonard named as captain and joined by vice-captains Maggie Caris and Renee Saulitis.
Greater Western Victoria girls coordinator Krista Woodroofe said it was a well-balanced list.
“We definitely feel we have picked our best squad,” she said.
“Normally we would only have a squad of 35 players but there were four or five girls within this group that we couldn’t distinguish from each other, so we opened up the squad to 39 players to allow more girls to get the opportunity to be in the squad.
“We’re really pleased with our top end talent as well, we think they will provide good leadership over the course of the season.”
The NAB League Girls under-18 season begins on February 29, with Greater Western Victoria taking on Sandringham at City Oval in Ballarat.
The home and away season features 10 rounds and concludes on May 9-10.
Finals begin on May 16, with the grand final taking place in Werribee on May 23.
Greater Western Victoria finished last year’s under-18 competition in 11th place with two wins and seven losses.