Benalla junior football stars picked up in pre-season Bushranger squads

By Meg Saultry

A record number of youth girl football players have been chosen in the Murray Bushrangers pre-season squad for the Under-18 and 16 teams, while a certain best and fairest winner stands up for the boys.

Among 71 players chosen, seven Saints players stood out, Madison Cronin, Mani Foubister, sisters Madison and Tayissa Gray, Sam Pritchard, Keeley Skepper and Isabella Symes have all been selected to train twice a week in Wangaratta this pre-season.

Joining the Saints players is Benalla Giants' youngster Sophie Boyle and Benalla Bulldogs' full-back Olivia Moll, who represented the North East Border at the recent V/Line Cup.

And among those selected in a 80-player Boys squad is Benalla Giants' recent Under-16 best and fairest winner Lachy Boyle, who joins his sister Sophie at the Bushrangers.

Future stars: Olivia Moll (second from left) and Sophie Boyle (right) have been selected for the Murray Bushrangers Girls pre-season squad.

More than 180 players across the North East Border, Goulburn Murray and Southern NSW regions were nominated by their club coaches, of which 100 players participated in AFLW fitness testing and skill sessions earlier this month.

Murray Bushrangers female talent co-ordinator Briana Cossar said it was fantastic to see so many young female footballers emerging within the region.

“The talent pool is growing at a rapid rate and players are emerging at younger ages, making selection of the pre-season squad more difficult,” Cossar said.

“We're really excited with the exceptional talent of our 2020 group.”

Meanwhile, among coaching announcements, Benalla's Jorja Daniel has been appointed assistant coach of the Girls squad, while Benalla Saints' netballer Mikaela Trethowan has taken on a high-performance assistant position with the team.