Launceston’s two Eastern Allies representatives can enjoy a free shot at this week’s under-18 national championships.
Still a year too young to be drafted, Blues midfielder Mia King and tall Camilla Taylor can soak in all three matches on the Gold Coast without the pressure of making an immediate case for AFLW selection.
Burnie twins Libby and Chloe Haines are the sole 18-year-olds of eight Tasmanian representatives, and will enter the week knowing exactly what to expect having lined up in the same championships last year.
King, who recently turned 17, also played in last year’s championships after getting a late call-up.
The former East Launceston junior performed well enough to make the All-Stars game and will be looking to do the same again this week.
“By the time Mia’s age-eligible she would have had three cracks at Allies so that is unusual - it depends on what happens in the future but I think it’ll be a rare occurrence,” AFL Tasmania female talent manager Leigh Elder said.
“She’s a very highly talented inside midfielder and is developing quite well … if she continues down the path she’s certainly going to be in the running to be one of the players called out in the draft the following year.
“Like anyone in the girls environment she’s got a bit more development to do, but her speed and attack on the footy is absolutely elite.
“There’s bit more game sense and skill delivery to happen in her game, but having two elite qualities already is a huge positive for her.”
The Allies will be coached by GWS midfielder Alicia Eva, with Tasmanian pair Emma Humphries and Trent Bartlett taking up assistant coach roles.
Despite being the tallest player in the squad at 179cm, Taylor is expected to relinquish her usual rucking role for Launceston.
“There’s the potential we could develop her into a key position player down the track, but at the moment we probably see her as that tall forward flanker and winger,” Elder said.
“As an athlete she ticks a lot of boxes and if her development continues the way we’ve seen over the past 12 months, because we see her as one of the big improvers, then she could be in the frame as well.
“When a Nick Riewoldt or a Matty Richardson are running around on a wing it’s really hard to match up on, and that’s how we’re looking to develop her.
“She’s got the height, she’s got the athletic ability, it’s just making her football start speaking for her.”
The Eastern Allies play the Central Allies on Monday, Western Australia on Wednesday, and finish their campaign against Queensland on Saturday.