The ThunderW stocks have received a boost from Central Australia with Samantha Hoogeveen-Hill and Ebony Miller committing to the club for the 2019 VFLW season.
Miller, who played a game for Thunder last season, is no stranger to Territory football success. She first played in the NTFL in the 2006/07 season where she was awarded best on ground in the grand final. And in the two most recent seasons she has lined up for Southern Districts where she became a key contributor to their success, picking up the club’s best and fairest for her efforts in the 2018/19 season.
Her achievements in the Central Australian Football League (CAFL) are remarkable. In 2011 she first lined up for the Pioneer Football Club and to end 2018 she had five premierships, two CAFL best and fairest medals, a best on ground in the grand final and three club best and fairest awards to her name.
Miller, who along with Hoogeveen-Hill, is part of the Pinktails program in Alice Springs, has represented the Central Australian club since its inception and leapt into the VFLW last season.
Hoogeveen-Hill, on the other hand, is a new signing for NT Thunder but also hails from the Pioneers and the Pinktails, where she has captained both teams.
After moving to Alice Springs as a 12-year-old, she has now played four seasons in the CAFL and has notched up plenty of success. She was the E-Girls (Pioneer) captain in 2018 and also won the league’s leading goalkicker in the same season, the second time she has picked up that honour.
In 2016 Hoogeveen-Hill won the best on ground in the CAFL Women’s Grand Final off the back of kicking nine goals in the game. She has also collected two club best and fairest awards during her time.
In 2018/19 she made her NTFL debut, another member of the revitalized Southern Districts outfit.
Both Miller and Hoogeveen-Hill have experienced success in other sports, with Miller an NT representative player in basketball, and Hoogeveen-Hill, a Territory representative in soccer.
ThunderW Head Coach Heidi Thompson had high praise for her newest recruits.
“Ebony is one of our most experienced players who comes into this squad in exceptional form on the back of an outstanding NTFL season with the Crocs.
“Her name was amongst the best players on grand final day as she was superb mopping up in the backline and then hitting up targets time and time again. She plays as a key defender with height on her side, and she uses her body efficiently to get the front position in an aerial contest.
“Sam has been hit with some injury hurdles this season but when fit and healthy finds herself in space up forward and navigates her way to goals regularly. She has excellent leading patterns in the forward line, which make her a dangerous player so close to goal.
“I am excited to see Sam’s game grow in the VFW space this year,” she said.
NT Thunder Manager Andrew Hodges said the ThunderW team had strong links to Central Australia.
“It’s exciting to have more Central Australian talent involved with NT Thunder this year, and it’s a testament to the excellent work being done by the local clubs and the Pinktails program. They are a great breeding ground for aspiring footballers.
“Ebony in her second year will provide strong leadership within the Alice Springs training group and Sam, who is only new to NT Thunder, has already shown that she will help set high standards in the region,” he said.
NT Thunder memberships are on sale now! And with three games between our VFLW and NEAFL teams scheduled for Alice Springs, they offer a great way for our Central Australian fans to support us. Visit www.ntthunder.com.au/membership for more info.
Round 1 of the ThunderW season begins Sunday 12 May against Hawthorn.
Photo: Justin Raymond/Centralian Advocate