By Sasha Pursell
EDITHVALE-Aspendale Football club is paving the way for future AFLW stars.
Over the past few weeks the bayside club has played a key role in the development of Collingwood AFLW’s latest recruit and code-switch athlete Eliza Hynes.
The Bendigo-born, Australian volleyballer was signed on as a rookie with the Collingwood AFL Women’s team in May this year.
At the start of August, the 25-year-old began training with the senior women’s team at Edi-Asp in preparation for the upcoming AFLW pre-season.
In Round 13, the 183-cm ruckman made her Australian rules debut in Eagles’ colours, playing firstly in the women’s reserves before being bumped up to the senior squad the following week.
With Collingwood AFLW coach Wayne Siekman watching on from the sidelines, Hynes cut a formidable figure on the field with her high-flying leap and strong kicking and proved instrumental in the Eagles’ nail-biting win over reigning premiers Mornington.
Following the match, a grateful Hynes was presented with a token Eagles jumper from her teammates. What followed was a heartfelt speech to the club that helped kick-start her AFL career.
Women’s Senior Coach Luke Aston said there are hopes of further establishing a relationship between Edithvale-Aspendale and the Collingwood AFLW team.
“I want my girls to know that they don’t have to play for a VFL club in order to be noticed by the AFLW,” he said.
In only its second year, the Edithvale-Aspendale women’s team is fast making a name for itself with over 50 girls pulling on the boots in 2017. The club now has two women’s teams playing in SEWF Division 2 and the SFNL Development league respectively.
Hundreds of supporters descended on Regents Park for the season-ender between the fifth-placed Eagles and reigning premiers Mornington on Saturday 19 August.
It was an arm-wrestle from start to finish with the margin never exceeding a point between each break.
Eagles captain Erin Meade and centre half-back Bridget Hanrahan played their part in keeping the usually dominant Bulldogs’ forward-line quiet in what was a low-scoring affair.
With the scores dead-even late in the penultimate quarter, Eagles forward Nicola Deacon broke through the pack to deliver a bouncing ball between the goals and put the Eagles in front for the first time all day.
The Eagles then dug in to hold off a late surge from Mornington to notch up a four-point victory.
Despite again narrowly missing finals Aston said that it was another amazing season, both on and off the field.
“Every player improved and contributed and felt part of it. With some of the injuries and stuff we had, we did really well.”
Edi-Asp’s pre-season is expected to start back in November. They welcome any new female recruits that want to come down and have a kick. Contact Barry Davey on 0418 456 070 if you’re interested.