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Hockey Star Vandenberg Hangs Hopes on AFLW

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

State hockey player Charlie Vandenberg participated in the AFLW Draft Combine this week, the only woman to do so. Due to COVID-19, the national Combine has been restructured into state-based events. The 17-year-old was the only Tasmanian girl invited, so on Tuesday tested alongside the Tasmanian boys. Tasmanian ruck Vandenberg is a recent convert to […]

State hockey player Charlie Vandenberg participated in the AFLW Draft Combine this week, the only woman to do so.

Due to COVID-19, the national Combine has been restructured into state-based events. The 17-year-old was the only Tasmanian girl invited, so on Tuesday tested alongside the Tasmanian boys.

Tasmanian ruck Vandenberg is a recent convert to Australian rules, having played state-level hockey since she was 13. Last year, she felt like giving something else a go and played a few school football games at Marist Regional College in Burnie.

There, she was quickly identified by former Roo and Tasmania Devils NAB League girls’ coach Emma Humphries.

While she didn’t manage to play in the two games of this year’s cancelled competition (due to COVID-19), she has since found her feet with Wynyard in the NWFL Women’s.

“It was all completely new, I didn’t know what to expect, there being no other girls. Nine boys had been invited, but only seven tested (due to injuries) alongside me,” Vandenberg told womens.afl.

“I didn’t know any of them, only knew one staff member. I was a bit scared and nervous, but it was a good experience. I probably didn’t do my very best in the tests, but I’d never done anything official like that before.

“The boys were definitely welcoming. They didn’t know me but were nice, talked to me and made sure I was OK. Jackson Callow was injured, so he looked out for me.”

As to the testing itself – including a 2km time trial, vertical jumps, a 20m sprint and an agility run – that was also a novel experience.

“Considering my height, speed and agility are usually not my best, but I was pretty happy with how I went,” she said.

“I thought I would have been better with my jumps, but I’ll only improve, that’s OK.”

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It’s been a whirlwind sporting year for Vandenberg – who hasn’t come from a footballing family – but she’s enjoyed the challenge.

“I gave footy a crack because I’m tall and it was a bit of fun. I didn’t really understand any of the game structure, so I was thrown in the deep end a bit, but Wynyard are a pretty experienced team, so they helped me out,” Vandenberg said.

“I’ve enjoyed all of it. I definitely needed a break from hockey, I was getting frustrated playing it. Through footy, I’m working with completely different people, a different sport, and it suits my height a lot better.

“From playing school footy last year, jumping around on the field, not being sure what was going on or what the rules were, to playing club and being in the proper Devils program, it’s been a lot of fun.”

82 girls have been invited to test at AFLW Draft Combines in this and coming weeks ahead of next month’s Draft. Prior to the draft, the Combines puts draft prospects through their paces as an opportunity for clubs to see and consider players’ physical abilities and readiness for the elite competition.

The Draft will take place on Tuesday 6 October in a virtual format with clubs to participate via web conference.

NAB AFLW Draft Combine list 

Western Australia
Abbey Dowrick (Subiaco)
Brianna Hyde (Swan Districts)
Ella Smith (Claremont)
Isabella Lewis (Claremont)
Jessica Low (Claremont)
Maggie MacLachlan (Subiaco)
Mikayla Hyde (Swan Districts)
Mikayla Morrison (Royals)
Roisin Walsh (East Fremantle)
Sarah Verrier (Peel Thunder)
Sarah Wielstra (Swan Districts)
Shanae Davison (Swan Districts)

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South Australia
Amber Ward (North Adelaide)
Ashleigh Woodland (North Adelaide)
Indy Tahau (South Adelaide)
Teah Charlton (South Adelaide)

NSW/ACT
Abby Favell (Murray Bushrangers)
Emily Pease (Belconnen Magpies)
Jayde Hamilton (Queanbeyan Tigers)
Kiara Beesley (Southern Power)
Tarni Evans (Queanbeyan Tigers)

Queensland
Annise Bradfield (Southport)
Beth Pinchin (Coolangatta)
Brooke Spence (Coorparoo)
Chloe Gregory (Maroochydore)
Christine Okesene (Yeronga)
Courteney Bromage (Yeronga)
Daisy D’Arcy (Hermit Park)
Ebony Peterson (Coolangatta)
Laura Blue (Coorparoo)
Lucy Single (Bond University)
Madison Goodwin (Yeronga)
Maddison Levi (Bond University)
Zimmorlei Farquharson (Calamvale/Yeronga)

Northern Territory
Janet Baird (Palmerston)
Mattea Breed (Southern Districts/Norwood)
Freda Puruntatameri (Palmerston/Calder Cannons)
Stephan Williams (Darwin Buffaloes/Geelong Falcons)

Tasmania
Charlie Vandenberg (Wynyard)

Victoria
Abbey Jordan (Dandenong Stingrays)
Abbi Moloney (Sandringham Dragons)
Alana Barba (Essendon VFL)
Alice Astbury (GWV Rebels)
Alice Burke (Sandringham Dragons)
Alice O’Loughlin (Oakleigh Chargers)
Alyssa Bannan (Northern Knights)
Amber Micallef (Oakleigh Chargers)
Amelia Velardo (Western Jets)
Annabel Strahan (Bendigo Pioneers)
Ashleigh Snow (Northern Knights)
Brooke Hards (Bendigo Pioneers)
Carly Remmos (Geelong Falcons)
Daisy Walker (Sandringham Dragons)
Darcy Moloney (Geelong Falcons)
Eliza McNamara (Sandringham Dragons)
Ellie McKenzie (Northern Knights)
Georgia Nanscawen (Essendon)
Grace McRae (Gippsland Power)
Isabella Eddey (Sandringham Dragons)
Isabella Simmons (GWV Rebels)
Isabelle Pritchard (Western Jets)
Jemma Finning (Bendigo Pioneers)
Jessica Fitzgerald (Northern Knights)
Jessica Matin (Dandenong Stingrays)
Joanna Lin (Oakleigh Chargers)
Laura Gardiner (Geelong Falcons)
Luka Lesosky-Hay (Richmond VFLW)
Maeve Chaplin (Northern Knights)
Maggie Caris (GWV Rebels)
Megan Fitzsimon (Gippsland Power)
Mietta Kendall (Eastern Ranges)
Mimi Hill (Oakleigh Chargers)
Nikia Webber (Gippsland Power)
Olivia Barber (Murray Bushrangers)
Olivia Meagher (Eastern Ranges)
Renee Saulitis (GWV Rebels)
Sarah Hartwig (Sandringham Dragons)
Shanara Notman (Gippsland Power)
Tarni Brown (Eastern Ranges)
Tyanna Smith (Dandenong Stingrays)
Winnie Laing (Sandringham Dragons)
Zoe Hill (Dandenong Stingrays)

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Featured image courtesy AFLW Photos.

Source: Tasmanian Times https://tasmaniantimes.com/2020/09/hockey-star-vandenberg-aflw-hopes/#utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hockey-star-vandenberg-aflw-hopes

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