Eagle eyes on the ball

Emily Imahiney, Helen Langley, coach Dan Litchfield and Sam Irons are looking forward to creating history for Narrandera. Photo: Kim Woods.

The Narrandera Eagles Senior Women’s AFL side is set to create history and fly in 2020.

Narrandera will join the AFL Riverina Women’s competition which also includes teams Charles Sturt University, Brookdale Bluebells, Griffith Swans, East Wagga Kooringal Hawks, Riverina Lions and the recently added North Wagga AFNC.

Senior Coach for Narrandera’s first ever Women’s AFL side will be last year’s Narrandera Eagles women’s under 17s coach Danny Litchfield.

It will be Litchfield’s second year coaching girls/women’s football as last year he led the Under 17s to a grand final debut.

Litchfield said entering the new league would definitely provide some new challenges as it was the first time Narrandera had fielded a senior women’s team.

He said Narrandera’s addition to the AFL Women’s Riverina Competition would help popularise and spread awareness about women’s football in Narrandera and the Riverina.

“It’s a bit overdue – it will be part of a stand-alone competition,” Litchfield said. “We already have 25-30 people interested in playing seniors next season as well as 40-50 interested girls juniors.

“The Riverina league has been around for a few seasons now but adding more teams will hopefully get more towns involved.”

Training for the women’s senior team will start Monday, January 20 and will either be every Monday or Tuesday depending on players’ schedules, with the season starting Friday, February 14.

In the season opener, Narrandera takes on North Wagga Saints at Apex Park at 7pm.

They then back up on February 21 to play against East Wagga Kooringal Hawks at the Narrandera sports-ground at 7.30pm.

There are two mother and daughter combinations playing for the senior Eagles – Suzie and Lucy Litchfield, and Helen and Kate Langley.

Helen represented Australia in rugby union in 1998 and comes into the Eagles side as captain. Vice captain and centre half-forward is Sam Irons, wife of Stephen Irons, a veteran of 200 plus games with the Eagles.

“I have played netball in the past and Stephen encouraged me to have a go – it’s now a running a joke with the kids they will be going to the footy to watch mum play,” Sam said.

Among the players graduating from the junior girls is Emily Imahiney, 17, who will play in defence. Emily played in the Under 17s and won the Coaches award for her tackling skills.

Meanwhile, Southwest Junior Youth Girls Football resumes in 2020, with the competition running from Wednesday, February 26 for six weeks. The competition will finish with the grand final on Wednesday, April 8.

The age groups will be Under 13s, Under 15s and Under 17s.

Training will get underway on Monday, January 27 at the sports ground at 5pm. Dan Litchfield said all previous and any new players were encouraged to attend.

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