Lateesha Jeffrey follows in her famous father Russell’s footsteps by representing the Northern Territory when she makes her senior club debut this weekend for ThunderW who meet Collingwood in Round 8 VFL W action.
She will do so in front of a home crowd at TIO Stadium in Darwin as part of 10 changes to NT Thunder’s team.
Jeffrey captained Southern Districts in the NTFL Women’s Premier League last season winning the club’s best and fairest. She is also an NTFL premiership player for the Palmerston Magpies and comes into the team after overcoming a long-term ankle injury sustained in pre-season training.
2017/18 NTFL premiership player for Waratah, Gemma Cusack also makes her long-awaited debut for the Territory team, taking the number of local players to have pulled on the famed guernsey to 24.
Seventeen-year-old, South Australian Academy player Nicki Gore will also play her first game as the 23rd player after being listed as the emergency last week.
Reigning (joint) NTFL Gwynne Medallist and Thunder joint vice-captain Lisa Roberts will lead the team as regular captian Angela Foley sits out for her first game of the season.
Thunder also welcomes the return of another co vice-captain Sally Riley along with Sophie Armitstead, Georgia Bevan, Courtney Cramey, Eloise Jones, Jenna McCormick and Rhiannon Metcalfe.
Foley and Machaelia Roberts both pulled up sore after Round 7 and will be rested this week, while Lucy Adam and Katie Streader are unavailable and Jessica and Sarah Allan, Amy Chittick, Tabitha May, Jessica Sedunary and Ruth Wallace are being rested.
ThunderW Head Coach Tim Weatherald said the large number of changes was not unusual given the need to rotate local and Adelaide-based AFLW players.
“We’re looking forward to getting back home to TIO Stadium in Darwin and playing in front of our home crowd and showing them how proud we all are to pull on the Territory colours each week.
“Lala (Lateesha) has been superb in training and has finally proven her fitness so it will be exciting for her to finally run out with the team. She is a popular mentor and leader off the field amongst the team,” Weatherald said.
On his youngest player for this weekend, Weatherald said there was a lot to like about Gore.
“Nicki has elite skills by hand and foot and is part of the AFL Under 18’s Academy based in Adelaide. She will gain great experience playing at VFL W level and is an up and coming star”.
“After our first loss last week we’re keen to get back to playing our style of Territory football and are focused on putting in a strong performance against Collingwood.
“Collingwood is in a similar spot to us on the ladder and is undefeated this season, so it will be a perfect test for us to see where we’re at. Each week is a test as the competition is fairly even and we won’t be taking any team lightly,” Weatherald said.
VFL W Round 8
NT Thunder vs Collingwood
Saturday 30 June
TIO Stadium, Darwin
B: Lisa Roberts, Lauren O’Shea, Sophie Armitstead
HB: Lateesha Jeffrey, Samantha Barnett, Jenna McCormick
C: Jasmine Anderson, Courtney Cramey, Eloise Jones
HF: Emma Swanson, Gemma Cusack, Georgia Bevan
F: Sally Riley, Rhiannon Metcalfe, Lauren Motlop
FOLL: Jasmyn Hewett, Renee Forth, Jemma Iacono
INT: Morgan Johnston, Tahlia Holtze, Kylie Duggan, Jordann Hickey, Nikki Gore*
EMERGENCIES: Amy Chittick, Tayla Thorn, Tabitha May
IN: Lateesha Jeffrey, Gemma Cusack, Sally Riley, Sophie Armitstead, Courtney Cramey, Jenna McCormick, Rhiannon Metcalfe, Eloise Jones, Georgia Bevan, Nicki Gore
OUT: Lucy Adam, Jessica Allan, Sarah Allan, Amy Chittick, Angela Foley, Tabitha May, Machaelia Roberts, Jessica Sedunary, Katie Streader, Ruth Wallace
NEW: Gemma Cusack, Nikki Gore, Lateesha Jeffrey
* Indicates 23rd player
This game will be live streamed on ThunderVision here