Anticipation is building ahead of the Herald Sun Shield Division 1 Senior Girls Grand Final as Ballarat Grammar and Melbourne Girls Grammar prepare to go head-to-head for the coveted title at the MCG. Jake Morris reports.
Established in season 2012, the Herald Sun Shield Division 1 Senior Girls competition provides the next generation of female AFLW stars with the chance to showcase their skills against the best talent from across Victoria.
Reigning premiers Ballarat Grammar will be keen to make it back to back wins and claim its third Herald Sun Shield title overall, when they run out on the game’s biggest stage.
Ballarat will go into the decider with added confidence after a convincing 61-point semi-final win over Aquinas College at Craigieburn last week.
Head Coach Matt Hanlon said he is delighted to have another shot at taking home their second Herald Sun Shield in as many years, but knows his side is in for a big challenge.
“Our school is very passionate about the Herald Sun Shield and having the opportunity to hoist that trophy once again is something we’ll cherish… we’re in a very fortunate position,” Hanlon said.
“It will be a great challenge coming up against Melbourne Girls Grammar but we’re ready for the fight, especially on a ground as big as the MCG, it’s a very special opportunity for the girls and the school.
“I think the absolute world of these girls, they’re an exciting group and I’m pumped to see what they can do this weekend.”
Standing in their way of consecutive flags is a spirited Melbourne Girls Grammar outfit who is ready to take home its first Herald Sun Shield title.
Melbourne Girls Grammar produced a solid performance in its semi-final win over Sacred Heart, booking its place in the Grand Final after a close 13-point victory.
Head Coach Angus Seller said his side is excited to be able to run out onto the MCG and represent themselves, but is also aware of the talent standing in their way.
“The girls are really excited for the challenge but also quite nervous, they’re definitely going to have their work cut out for them,” Seller said.
“They are a really talented group of girls and they deserve to be out there putting on a show and I am very fortunate to be able to coach them.”
Amongst a talented squad, Seller highlighted 15-year-old Eliza McNamara, Olivia Vesely, and Abbie McKay, daughter of Carlton great Andrew McKay, as ones to watch on Sunday.
“Liv, Eliza and Abbie are definitely players that stand out in my mind as girls that could not only have a huge impact on the result of the match, but also well into the future as they follow the path to a successful career in the AFLW,” he said.
“In addition, our assistant coach and Melbourne AFLW player Ainslie Kemp has been fantastic in supporting the girls through their football journeys, I don’t think we’d be in the position we’re in if it wasn’t for Ainslie’s and the Melbourne Football Club’s overwhelming support.”
Be there for all the action when the Grand Final kicks off at 12:45pm, as a curtain raiser for the Round 19 AFL clash between Collingwood and Adelaide.
For more information on the Herald Sun Shield, visit aflvic.com.au