Hingston taking footy experience in her stride

JUST nine days ago, Tasmanian Courtney Hingston ran out for the Allies against NSW-ACT in what was her first AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships experience. The Tasmania Devils top-ager has enjoyed a strong season at NAB League Girls level culminating in her selection for firstly the combined Tasmania-NSW/ACT side, and then finally, the Allies. Remarkably, April 20 – the day of the clash – was a memorable date for Hingston.

“I started playing football a year ago exactly today,” Hingston said. “Just at my local club in the junior girls team, and then our regional manager contacted me to go train with their (Devils) development squad and that’s kind of how I ended up here.”

Hingston said she grew to love football rather quickly, and though stepping up to the elite junior level has had its challenges, she admitted her skills had “definitely developed a lot”.

“I just love aggression at the ball, kicking it and being able to run with the ball,” Hingston said. “It’s been good, I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been a bit of a challenge just something different I guess.”

Though now entrenched as a rebounding defender, Hingston started the season as a winger, utilising her high-level running capacity, and quick burst to advantage. But soon she settled in the back half and she has remained there ever since.

The Tasmanian said her leg speed and skills were amongst her strengths, with the latter perhaps a surprise considering her little experience in the sport compared to others, but the Devils program had assisted in that area. For Hingston, it was now about working on her fundamentals such as groundballs. She said she looked up to Meghan Gaffney from her local regional training base as an inspiration for her football.

“Her ability to move the ball and her leg speed, she’s just really good at it, so I get a lot from her,” Hingston said.

A little bit further north than her home, Hingston admitted the conditions at Blacktown International Sportspark were challenging to begin with, but she adapted.

“It was good, nice and challenging and very hot,” Hingston said. “I live up in the north west in Tassie so it’s a bit colder up there.”

As for her future in football and what goals she is setting herself, the Allies representative admitted she was still uncertain of what the future might hold.

“I’m not really sure to be honest” Hingston said. “Football’s still quite new to me and it’s all just happening at once.”

Though she might not be sure yet, Hingston still has another AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships match on the near horizon, when the Allies travel to Queensland. Metricon Stadium is likely to also have warmer conditions than North West Tasmania, except this time the running defender will be prepared.

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