PREVIEW | 2024 Coates Talent League Girls: GWV Rebels

GREATER Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels have a couple of twin towers bookmarking their side in 2024, as the country side kicks off its Coates Talent League Girls campaign on Thursday. Also boasting a number of talented midfielders, the Rebels loom as a team to watch, and we spoke to coach Sally Riley about their chances.


Millie Lang (Defender)
06/11/2006 | 177cm

After a strong campaign for her school in the Herald Sun Shield the year before, Lang burst onto the Talent League scene to be one of the Rebels’ most consistent players. Her aerial ability and potent left foot was on show, continually getting into the right spots to intercept and drive the ball down the ground in transition.

Sally Riley says: “She’s got a weapon in her left-foot kicking, she’s a competitive beast and she loves footy. One whose grown up with footy, she could probably name every single AFL player. One of those girls who just lives and breathes it and performs well in big games.”

Claire Mahony (Forward)
21/06/2006 | 181cm

Raw but sensationally talented, Mahony is another who has a great set of hands and can clunk contested marks. She leads out strongly, provides a presence and is not afraid to fly for a ball, though also works hard at ground level showing her competitiveness to lock the ball inside 50.

Sally Riley says: “Again elite kicking skills and overhead marking is her weapon as well. She never backs out of an aerial contest, she loves to crash packs. She can kick goals, so for us two very important players at either end of the ground.”

Elise Cook (Midfielder)
28/01/2006 | 170cm

Caught the eye last season playing through the middle and popping up when required. Cook is not a massive accumulator, but she is super clean and quick with her disposals, while providing enormous defensive pressure around the stoppage. She averaged 11.6 disposals and 6.2 tackles per game as a bottom-ager.

Sally Riley says: “She’s a midfielder can also go forward or go back, medium size but just really consistent skills, hand/eye coordination, again that one-touch player who can use the ball really well.”

Brook Ward (Midfielder)
18/04/2006 | 169cm

Injury limited Ward to just six games in her bottom-age season, but she has the natural talent that catches the eye. Though a natural midfielder, she played as a defender in her Under 16s season, and played forward in the Vic Country trial where she showed strong hands and slotted two goals. If she gets a clean run this year, watch for her to be one of the big improvers across the competition.


Sally Riley says: “We’ve got Tyla Crabtree as a 19-year-old who went to the combine last year. She just won our yo-yo, smashed her (personal best). She’s the fittest we’ve ever seen her. She’s doing a bit of VFL with Essendon as well so hopefully we have her for a few games.

Bella Davies is another one with an engine. In terms of will go all day, great running capacity. Scarlett O’Donnell from Warrnambool and Maggie Johnstone who’s a Warrnambool player as well. She’s a 17-year-old player (bottom-ager), but loves footy and will bring a lot to our team.”

2024 GOALS

Sally Riley says: “Obviously we want to see growth and development for each player. If we can string some wins together, bonus. But again with our group training only once a week due to our location where everyone lives, we had girls today up at 4:30am to then get to Ballarat to catch the 7:30 bus to come to testing. So the commitment’s huge from the girls.

“For us to get the group together, a bit of camaraderie, that’s the first goal and then to be able to come together and get a few wins, but just to see their growth from the individual on and off the field. Ideally finals again and then we’ll see how we go from there.”


Round 1: vs. Geelong Falcons | Thursday, March 28 @ GMHBA Stadium

Sally Riley says: “It’s awesome. We love playing the Falcons, it’s a nice little rivalry. I suppose this annual Easter game being on Easter Thursday, has become a bit of a tradition between the two clubs with the boys team playing as well. It’s something that all the girls want to be in the Round 1 team for that and playing at GMHBA will be an awesome experience not only for the players but the coaches too.”

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