Sunbury Kangaroos may not have come away with the AFL Goldfields’ Riddell Youth Girls premiership, but they were winners before they even took to the field.
The Kangaroos exceeded all expectations in their first season and faced off against the undefeated Gisborne Blue side in the grand final on Sunday.
The Kangaroos pushed the Bulldogs all day and almost pulled off an upset win, but fell just short, losing 4.6 (30)-4.1 (25).
Kangaroos’ junior president Jacob Bennett said making the grand final alone was a massive result.
“We’re very proud of these girls,” he said.
“We had only three players who had played football before and we had three 12-year-olds and the rest under-15s and under-18s. We played a side which were all under-18 players
“The girls believed in themselves and were massive underdogs.
“If the game had gone for three minutes longer, I think we would have got the win.”
Gemma McGann kicked two goals for the Kangaroos.
Bennett said they ended up with 22 players for the season, a lot more than what they thought they would get.
“[We thought] If we got 12 to 13 kids we’d put in a team and have a bit of fun.
“We ended up with 22 girls and you can see what we’ve put out there on the field. We’ve got a pathway for female football in the club from under-18s to senior football.
“The senior team made finals and had the league best and fairest winner and the coach of the year.”
Bennett said they had players of all ages who had shown they had what it takes. Their best player on Sunday was 13-year-old Abbey McDonald.
“She’s been playing two games of football on a Sunday, still playing under-14s. She could play senior football, but you need to be at least 16.”
Bennett said they were hoping to expand the girl’s program next season to include an under-15 side.
“We want to have an under-15 team to allow the younger girls a bit more time to develop with players their own ages.”