Four players are set to make their ThunderW debut this weekend when the team takes on Richmond at the Swinburne Centre in Round 11 of the 2018 VFL W season.
Ebony Miller, Madeline Keeble and Stevie-Lee Thompson are the final three of Thunder’s Alice Springs and Darwin-based listed players to make their debut, while Adelaide-based Rheanne Lugg has also been given the call-up.
Thompson, who developed her footy craft in Darwin makes her long-awaited return playing for the Territory on Saturday. Before being drafted to the Adelaide Crows for the inaugural AFLW season in 2017, Thompson last represented the NT in exhibition games against the Victorian Academy and Tasmania in 2016.
Central Australia’s Miller is a competitive ruck who can read the play well and was the 2014 and 2016 Margaret Liddle Medallist for being the best and fairest in the CAFL women’s competition. Local PINT player, Keeble is quick on her feet and known for having an aggressive attack on the ball, while the AFLW experience of Lugg is a welcome addition to this week’s team.
Fellow AFLW players and valuable ThunderW team members; Eloise Jones, Emma Swanson and Deni Varnhagan re-join the team after being rested last week.
The outs for this week are Georgia Bevan, Courtney Cramey, Kylie Duggan, Angela Foley, Justine Mules, Sally Riley and Tayla Thorn, who have been omitted for a variety of reasons, including rest, commitments and illness.
With the absence of Foley, who is missing due to prior commitments, stalwart defender and ThunderW vice-captain Lisa Roberts will lead the team once more.
ThunderW Head Coach Tim Weatherald said he was excited to give more Territory players a starting gig.
“Ebony’s inclusion to the team won’t surprise anyone who has seen her play and comes in time with our home game in Alice Springs next week. She has been a great leader at Pioneers and showed real class when the Pinktails played Darwin last year.
“Meanwhile, Maddie has shown real commitment to the Thunder program and has been training hard, and when it comes to Stevie-Lee, well there’s no denying that if anyone deserves a spot on the team, then she does for the work she has put in over the years to establish herself.
“This is our second consecutive game travelling, and with four more in-a-row all on the road away from Darwin it’s important that changes are made to allow players to rest. Richmond has had mixed results this season, so we need to be prepared for a challenge regardless of who pulls on the Thunder jumper,” Weatherald said.
VFL W Round 11
Richmond vs NT Thunder
Saturday 21 July
Swinburne Centre, Richmond, Vic
B: Lateesha Jeffrey, Samantha Barnett, Lisa Roberts
HB: Sophie Armitstead, Gemma Cusack, Stevie-Lee Thompson
C: Katie Streader, Deni Varnhagen, Elosie Jones
HF: Sue Nalder, Marijana Rajcic, Jessica Sedunary
F: Emma Swanson, Abbey Holmes, Jordann Hickey
FOLL: Jasmyn Hewett, Renee Forth, Ebony Marinoff
INT: Lauren O’Shea, Ebony Miller, Madeline Keeble, Sharona Bishop*, Rheanne Lugg
EMERGENCIES: Jasmine Anderson, Michelle Ellis, Tahlia Holtze, Machaelia Roberts
IN: Eloise Jones, Madeline Keeble, Ebony Miller, Emma Swanson, Stevie-Lee Thompson, Deni Varnhagan
OUT: Georgia Bevan, Courtney Cramey, Kylie Duggan, Angela Foley, Justine Mules, Sally Riley, Tayla Thorn
NEW: Ebony Miller, Maddie Keeble and Stevie-Lee Thompson
* Indicates 23rd player