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Future AFLW Stars at MCC?Posted in Achievements,Sport on Friday, 2 August, 2019

Three girls from Mandurah Catholic College have had the unique experience of training with the Fremantle Dockers AFLW side. Year 10 students Courtney Rowley, Bethlyn Pasco and Gracie Fenton, who all play for local team the Peel Thunderbirds, trained with the team through their inclusion in the WAFL Women’s State under 16s program, now finished for the year.

The girls were divided into two groups – those south of the river went to train with the Fremantle Dockers Club, while the north of the river girls went to train with West Coast. However, as only Fremantle has an AFLW team, the girls south of the river got to train right next to their idols and counterparts in the AFLW competition. The training program lasted for 5 weeks, with the girls venturing up to the club to train after school every Tuesday evening.

Courtney Rowley, who plays on the wing said that training with the AFLW team helped her learn so much more, “as you’re training at such a high level. You get to know what it’s like, if you want to be with the team one day,” she said Bethlyn Pasco, also on the wing really got a lot out of training. “They really make us push ourselves. Being around them (AFLW players) you really want to do the best that you can.” Gracie Fenton plays in the midfield. “It’s so different to the Peel training,” she said. “You get a lot more out of it. The drills are different, so it’s good variety and then you can change it up and you develop a lot.”

The girls were very appreciative of the experience, and in particular the chance to train with some of their idols. “The girls didn’t have to be there at the program with us because they have their own day jobs, but they chose to come and train with us.” Courtney said. “When you’re training with them you want to step up and train really well, so I’ve taken that with me back to the club. It’s made a big difference to my game,” Courtney said. “I think other people have noticed too.”

Bethlyn agrees, “It’s a big step up to how we were training before. It’s made me train harder when I went back to Peel. It’s the next level up, so I’ve put that into my training. The way I think about the game has changed – not just my ability. You process it differently,” she said.

After the 5 week training program, the Fremantle Dockers club invited just 10 girls to stay on and continue training with them for an extra 5 weeks. Courtney and Bethlyn were among the 10.

Both Bethlyn and Courtney are very positive about their future in football. “AFLW is the goal!” Courtney said, smiling.

Bethlyn and Courtney both hope to make State 18s first. “At the end of the year we have been invited back to attend the Summer Academy for State 18s and from there they choose a WAFL Women’s State 18s team for next year.” Bethlyn said. “Training with the team was great. It’s really made me want to get into the AFLW team now.”

You can click here to see a video of the girls in action at training.