Great Southern girls ready to fly for Eagles

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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Two Great Southern girls are part of the first group of female players to pull on the West Coast Eagles jumper, as the club begins its journey towards fielding an AFLW team in 2020.

Jerramungup’s Mel Baldwin and Denmark’s Parris Laurie are part of the historic group of players training under the Eagles Female Academy banner, a new addition to the WA female talent pathway.

A group of 30 players from the State academy were selected to be a part of this inaugural Eagles program, with Baldwin and Laurie both harbouring dreams to play in the AFLW competition.

Baldwin comes from a strong footballing family in Jerramungup, while Laurie is the younger sister of former Port Adelaide-listed rookie Jesse Laurie.

The pair play for Claremont in the WA Women’s Football League and will continue to train at Domain Stadium in Eagles colours.

Former Eagles and North Melbourne player Drew Petrie is the head coach of the Eagles academy with Luke Shuey, Adam Selwood, Sam Butler and Brownlow medallist Ben Cousins all involved.

Eagles academy members Mel Baldwin and Parris Laurie at Domain Stadium.
Camera IconEagles academy members Mel Baldwin and Parris Laurie at Domain Stadium. Credit: The West Australian

A State hockey representative, Baldwin said the academy had been fantastic for her development. “Its been brilliant and I’m very appreciative of the opportunity,” the 21-year-old said.

“I’ve been playing for just over a year but growing up I’ve always wanted to play professional sport and the AFLW is definitely the dream.

“I can’t say I expected to be here and I keep having to pinch myself when we run out to train but you have to take the opportunity when it comes along.

“Even when I was playing State hockey in summer I’d go train with the footy bots at home which was a bit daunting but dad was the coach so I’ve certainly been around footy.”

Laurie, a State basketball and former SBL player with Kalamunda and Wanneroo, said her inclusion in the Eagles academy had given her added motivation to achieve her AFLW dream.

“This has stemmed from being in the talent academy but it has been awesome and really enjoyable,” the 23-year-old said.

“We’ve got so many different coaches to your specific area of playing and its great learning what its like to train and play at that level from the very best.

“Being exposed to that level of professionalism has been so valuable.

“I went in the (AFLW) draft last year and will go in it this year but if I have no luck I would definitely be keen to play for the Eagles.

“People said girls’ AFL would be a thing and I just brushed it off but I’m glad it happened while I’m young enough to give it a crack.”

Gnowangerup’s Kira Phillips is also part of the Eagles academy.

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