Players to watch at the AFLW U18 championships

THE FIRST round of the NAB AFLW Under-18 Championships starts on Friday, with games set to be played in Adelaide and Sydney. 

Perth and Melbourne will also host round one matches later in June. 

The best young players from around the country will take part, with West Coast, St Kilda and Gold Coast supporters able to cast an eye over their pre-signed players (named below) made available to them as expansion clubs. 

A handful of potential father-daughter signings – including Isabella Grant (Western Bulldogs, daughter of Chris) and Millie Brown (Geelong, daughter of Paul) – will also take to the field. 

HOW IT WORKS

South Australia (coached by Bill Economou) and Northern Territory (Heidi Thompson) will play each other twice over a weekend, with MVPs from both teams to be named at the conclusion of their matches. 

Following this, the best players from the two sides will come together to form the Central Allies, who will play in round two of the competition. 

Tasmania (Trent Barlett) and NSW/ACT (Steve Mahar) will follow suit, playing their two matches in Sydney over the same weekend. 

These two states will form the Eastern Allies for round two. 

Queensland (James Gellie) will travel to Western Australia (Beau McDonald) to play two games over the weekend of 14-16 June, with Vic Country (Aasta O'Connor) and Vic Metro (Nathan Burke) to battle off for bragging rights on 22 June. 

Those four states will all then play in round two on the Gold Coast, with their respective MVPs to be announced at the conclusion of the championships. 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

NSW/ACT: Rebound defender Georgia Garnett (pictured above) is a member of the NAB AFLW Academy and has been in the state system for quite some time, while Jordyn Jolliffe is a tough over-age midfielder who was sidelined with a long-term back injury last year. She has played for NAB League side Bendigo Pioneers most recently, despite being aligned to NSW/ACT.

Northern Territory: A versatile tall, Bella Clarke can play either in defence or as an outside midfielder. She's one of the leaders of the NT side. Maddy Gault is an over-age midfielder/forward who last year made the Central Allies side and was named best on ground in the 2018 NTFL Grand Final. 

Queensland:Three players – Charlotte Hammans, Kitara Whap-Farrar and Ellie Hampson – have already been signed by Gold Coast. Otherwise, Lily Postlethwaite is a clean, pacey midfielder and Academy member, while strong marker Tairna Ahwang has moved from Cairns to the Gold Coast to further her footy.

South Australia: Athletic ruck Montana McKinnon was All Australian last year as a 17-year-old in a hotly contested position and is also capable of playing forward. Midfielder/forward Jaimi Tabb may be smaller than some of her opponents but is a tough contested player who can hit the scoreboard. 

Tasmania:Defender Priscilla Odwogo is lightning quick; the vice-captain can also play as an inside midfielder. The versatile Mia King has been one of Tasmania's best players for the past few years. She reads the ball well, has strong instincts and North Melbourne will be thrilled she is finally eligible for the draft. 

Vic Country: Lucy McEvoy took the under-18 champs by storm last year when the strong-bodied former defender played out of the goal-square. Is set to play in the midfield this year, where she has starred for Geelong Falcons. Molly McDonald and Isabella Shannon have already been signed by St Kilda. Defender Millie Brown is a possible father-daughter signing for Geelong, as father Paul is a former Cat.

Vic Metro:There will be a few recruiters watching talented forward Gabby Newton closely; she is a strong mark with a good eye for goals. There's also a handful of potential father-daughter signings in the side, with midfielder Isabella Grant (Western Bulldogs, daughter of Chris) eligible to be drafted this year, while Alice Burke (St Kilda, Nathan) and Tarni Brown (Collingwood, Gavin) are another year off. 

Western Australia:Exciting forward Roxy Roux announced herself at last year's championships with the athletic mid-sized forward capable of turning a game on its head. Rosie Deegan and Mikayla Bowen have already been pre-signed by West Coast and diminutive twins Mikayla and Brianna Hyde are quick with strong skills.

Rosie Deegan

ROUND ONE NAB AFLW UNDER-18 CHAMPIONSHIPS

South Australia v Northern Territory
Friday, May 31, 2pm ACST
Peter Motley Oval, SA

NSW/ACT v Tasmania
Friday May 31, 7pm AEST
Blacktown International Sportspark, NSW

NSW/ACT v Tasmania
Sunday, June 2, 10am AEST
Blacktown International Sportspark, NSW

South Australia v Northern Territory
Sunday, June 2, 11am ACST
Karen Rolton Oval, SA

Western Australia v Queensland
Friday, June 14, 11am AWST
Claremont Oval, WA

Western Australia v Queensland
Sunday, June 16, 10.15am AWST
East Fremantle Oval, WA

Vic Country v Vic Metro
Saturday, June 22, 2pm AEST
Avalon Airport Oval, Vic

ROUND TWO NAB AFLW UNDER-18 CHAMPIONSHIPS

Games will be played at Metricon Stadium, Southport Football Club and Bond University on the Gold Coast from 8-12 July.

View full fixture and squad lists.