A new chapter began for the Northern Knights on Saturday, as the club’s girls side took to the park for its first TAC Cup match.
The Knights, unlike a lot of other TAC Cup clubs, haven’t had a girls academy program in place, so have started from scratch this year.
The Knights suffered a 5.8 (38)-3.2 (20) loss to Geelong Falcons.
Before the match, coach Rebecca Privitelli said good results would be nice, bit it was more about developing the girls.
“I don’t have any expectations, besides the girls going out there to play their role and to their strengths,” she said.
“If they do that I’m a happy coach.
“I think we’ve taken a lot of positives out of it this pre-season … I’m really excited to see what the girls can do over the next couple of weeks.”
Privitelli, who has been part of Carlton’s AFLW team, said she hadn’t been surprised by the talent in the northern region of Melbourne.
“We really wanted to uncover that and get our girls playing in our region and I’m really rapt to have the girls we have.
“It was quite a tough selection process and I’m really impressed with our list.
“These girls aren’t going to get this sort of coaching at a lower level.
“The more girls we can put into this level of football the more we can develop them and the more they can take to their local club.”
Privitelli singled out Marnie Jarvis, Maddy Guerin and Gabrielle Newton as players to watch. Also among the players thriving in the Knights program is inaugural captain Lily Brancatisano.
Brancatisano said it had been a whirlwind 12 months since she picked up a football.
“I’ve only played probably nine or 10 games of footy. I joined last year with the Laurimar Power and played a few games down there,” she said.
Brancatisano, who has a basketball background, says she started to play football for fitness. She was playing with her sister Madeline, who is also part of the Knights, and really enjoyed it.
“I’m pretty new to the sport and that’s part of the fun, learning new skills and getting a better grasp of the knowledge as I go through. That’s what it’s about at this level, still learning and developing as players and people.”
Brancatisano said once it was announced the Knights would have a side, both her and her sister were keen to be involved.