NFNL Under-15 Girls coach Chyloe Kurdas believes the 2018 AFL Victoria Metro Junior Championships was a major success, despite the grand final loss to Eastern Region Girls.
The NFNL girls gave their all in the decider, but were unable to match it with a strong ERG outfit at Bullen Park on Saturday, going down 5.14 (44) to 0.3 (3).
Kurdas said the result didn’t determine the outcome of the program and was proud of the effort and commitment displayed right throughout the Championships.
“We had a number of challenges going into the game. We had two of our best players out and then in the game we had a strong opposition, who was well coached and structured and very skilful,” Kurdas said.
“We had a host of challenges in the game but what I loved was the way the girls chose to respond and apply themselves in the face of those challenges.”
Trailing by only nine points at quarter time, the NFNL was outplayed in the second quarter, conceding four unanswered goals to trail by 35 points at half time.
Kurdas said the response in the second half – where the girls kept ERG goalless – showed the progress that has been made throughout the representative program.
“We had a good chat at half time about the vulnerability we were feeling and what we would choose to do with that,” Kurdas said.
“I was proud of the way the girls chose to respond after we had that chat at half time. They learned something about themselves.
“They responded and I know so much more now about what those girls can do in the face of adversity.
“If they didn’t respond to the challenge then I would say that we didn’t achieve what we set out to, but the girls probably picked up more learnings and development from not getting the scoreboard result.
“Grand finals present us with an opportunity to develop a unique skill set that translate into many other areas in our lives and we can take those learnings with us in our life beyond our football life.
“Our number one KPI was around having pride in ourselves when we stepped off the field and around our application. I think all the girls ticked that box, so I am very, very happy.”
Reflecting on the representative program, Kurdas said the ability to develop young female leaders both on and off the field was a major success.
“I’m really pleased the league committed to having two teams, which is important given how many girls teams and competitions we have overall,” she said.
“There is a real willingness within the league to invest in female leadership – not just in coaching, but team management.
“There was a really strong female cohort which came through. It was great to see some of the girls in last year’s program, who aged out, come back and contribute in voluntary capacity.
“It’s terrific to see the likes of those young women explore ways they can contribute to the football community beyond what they do as players.
“Then there is the commitment to young women like Jamiee Monk, who is our team manager, Luca Gallo and Aimee McDougall who were assistant coaches. It’s really lovely to see a commitment to female leadership and coaches.
“Given some of the concerns around the opportunities for women and girls to access coaching roles, it was fantastic that the league has a really strong commitment to delivering on that and being part of the solution, not the problem.
“That’s part of the reason why I choose to work within the Northern Football Netball League, because there is a real strong investment in the football careers and football development in women and girls both as players and leaders.”