South East duo taste championship success

UNDERDOGS GET UP: Jess Allan and Olivia Fuller returned from the NAB AFL women’s Under 18 championships in Queensland as part of the Allies side which was just one of two undefeated sides.

A COMPOSITE women’s football side – the Allies – made up of players from South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory has returned from the NAB AFL women’s Under 18 championships in Queensland as one of just two undefeated sides.

The side included Millicent girls, 18-year-old Jess Allan and 17-year-old Olivia Fuller, with the underdogs in the competition taking the challenge up to their more fancied rivals.

For Allan it was not an unusual experience – she currently plays for Centrals in the SANFL competition – but for Fuller it was a baptism of fire.

The basketballer has played no more than four games of AFL, but applied for a spot on the team and was accepted.

The week of competition included three games, where Fuller was thrown into the cauldron, at times changing with Allan in the ruck, something quite unusual given her round-ball background.

But she took it all in her stride, kicking the first goal of the week for her side and enjoying the change of code.

Fuller said she decided to apply for the team after advice from a teacher.

“I played some school footy and one of my teachers said there were state try-outs with sign-ups closing that night,” she said.

“I just did it and got through every round, then got picked in this team.”

Having played plenty of basketball and netball in her time, Fuller said the idea of football was a bit daunting, but with Allen along for the ride she was happy to be part of the competition.

“All the girls in my team had heaps of experience, but I have only played about four games in my life,” she said.

“Every position is new to me, but they had faith in me so I did my best.

“It was a bit scary, but it would have been for everyone.

“If I didn’t know Jess, I probably wouldn’t have started.”

The team headed off to Queensland early to allow time to bond, with many of the players not knowing each other.

But once the action began, the side gelled and performed above expectations.

Fuller said it was a great feeling at the end of the week to remain undefeated.

“Everyone got around each other and it was the best feeling, especially being the underdogs,” she said.

While there were many differences for Fuller to overcome in the new code, the sport certainly left its mark, with more to come in the near future, including the new South East Women’s Football League that kicks off tomorrow night at Vansittart Park.

“I’m playing for the Millicent team,” Fuller said.

“I love it.

“I just want to keep playing all the time.”