Northern Knights skipper Madeline Brancatisano spoke to Leader’s Tim Michell after her side’s perfect start to the 2018 TAC Cup Girls season.
Leadership must run in the Brancatisano family.
Lily Brancatisano earned the honour of being named Northern Knights’ inaugural TAC Cup Girls captain last season and has handed the reins to her sister Madeline this year.
The role has added to an already packed weekly schedule for 17-year-old Madeline which involves year 12 studies at Eltham’s Catholic Ladies College, basketball training with Geelong Supercats and her TAC Cup Girls duties.
At least once a week she will head to Geelong, where her sisters Charlotte and Isabella are members of the Supercats’ SEABL squad for 2018.
Basketball has been a passion for Madeline since she was six, but she only started playing football two years ago.
“My local club Laurimar needed some girls and they asked me to come down,” Madeline told Leader.
“Mum said, ‘go and have a try’ and I just loved it from there.”
After five matches with the Knights last season, she progressed to the Northern Football League Women’s ranks with Montmorency.
Madeline said she “definitely learned a lot” playing alongside her sister Lily and AFLW draftee Maddy Guerin.
The Doreen resident was at the draft with her Knights teammate when she was snapped up by Melbourne with pick No. 14.
Brancatisano said she hoped to follow in Guerin’s footsteps by earning an opportunity in the national competition.
“Getting drafted would be a dream come true, but I just want to enjoy it see where it takes me,” she said.
She has two ideal role models, Western Bulldog Monique Conti and Collingwood’s Chloe Molloy, to ask for advice.
Molloy was a basketball prodigy before giving the sport away to focus on football, while Conti has juggled her careers with the Bulldogs and WNBL club Melbourne Boomers.
“I am good friends with both of them,” she said.
“It was very cool seeing them get drafted and doing what they love.”
Before she will allow herself to start dreaming of the bright lights of AFLW, Brancatisano wants to achieve success with the Knights.
She has made a perfect start to her captaincy, leading Northern Knights to the top of the ladder after victories over Dandenong Stingrays and Calder Cannons.
While the skipper will have a major role to play, she said bottom-agers Nell Morris-Dalton and Gabrielle Newton would also be players to watch.
The Northern Knights 34-player 2018 TAC Cup Girls squad contains 22 registered Northern Football Netball League players.
Continue below to see the squad:
Magdelene Antypas (Marcellin Old Collegians), Alyssa Bannan (South Morang), Abigail Bennett (West Preston-Lakeside), Madeline Brancatisano (Montmorency), Guilia Ceravolo (South Morang), Maeve Chaplin (West Preston-Lakeside), Phoebe Chisholm (Laurimar), Ebony Clayton (St Mary’s), Taylah Curavic (Laurimar), Olivia Dikranis (Marcellin Old Collegians), Jessica Fitzgerald (St Mary’s), Ciara Fitzgerald (Darebin Falcons) Britney Gutknecht (Laurimar), Bethany Illingworth (Montmorency), Marnie Jarvis (Yarrambat), Paije Kearney (Laurimar), Grayson Malloy (Montmorency), Tayla Manson (Greensborough), Jemma McCarthy (Banyule), Ellie McKenzie (Fitzroy), Trinity Mills (St Mary’s), Sarah Moore (Diamond Creek), Nell Morris-Dalton (Fitzroy), Gabrielle Newton (Montmorency), Neve O’Connor (Diamond Creek), Alex Pronesti (Laurimar), Tallia Pulcino (West Preston-Lakeside), Malaya Rodezno (St Mary’s), Sarah Sansonetti (St Mary’s), Tiarne Shell (Diamond Creek), Ashleigh Snow (West Preston-Lakeside), Mika Suzuki (Yarrambat), Molly Uwland (Ivanhoe), Anna Williams (Ivanhoe)