AFTER the success of the 2018 NAB AFLW Academy, which saw 19 players drafted by AFLW teams in October, the next generation of future stars are about to wrap up their first training camp.
Based at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra, the week-long camp involved 48 under-18 players from around the country.
Eleven players from the first Academy intake in 2017 were drafted, while the 2018 graduating class provided eight of the first 12 picks alone.
Seventeen-year-old Mia King has represented Tasmania and a combined Allies team at the NAB AFLW Under-18 Championships for the past two years and is enjoying her first stint with the Academy.
"It's a week-long camp. We've been sorted into Harry Potter houses – I'm in Slytherin – and we do challenges and earn points," King told AFL.com.au.
"We've gone rock-climbing and we've visited the Australian War Memorial.
"Our footy training has involved game-play, but we've also been working on fundamentals like decision-making, looking for the best option and then trying to incorporate that into our game."
Midfielder King is part of the newly revamped Tasmanian Devils female academy, which is training alongside North Melbourne's Tasmanian-based AFLW players.
"It's preparing us for that professional environment, and training is at a much higher intensity than what we're used to," King said.
"It's quite a lot. We train on Mondays and Wednesdays in Launceston (King's hometown), then we have a big combined session on a Saturday, when the North players from Hobart like Nicole Bresnehan and Maddy Smith come up.
"It's really good for younger girls growing up to see there's now a pathway they can go towards. We did a match simulation session with the team during their recent camp, playing against the likes of Mo Hope and Kait Ashmore, which was really exciting."
The Academy group will meet in Melbourne early in 2019 for the next phase of the program.