Fourteen-year-old Montana Harvey moved up to Glen Innes from Victoria when her father got a job here.
Everything was fine – except that there was scarcely an outlet for her and her family’s passion: football.
She took part in Auskick in Glen Innes, the scheme for boys and girls aged from five to 12 but she’s now outgrown that. And she has travelled to Inverell to participate in under 14 games.
But she’s now won a place on the Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) AFL Youth Girls Squad. Over the next six months, she’ll develop her skills and strength under the Sydney Swans Academy Strength and Conditioning program. The program is being adapted by Armidale based Matt Pine, who was formally the strength and conditioning coach for the Sydney Swans.
Montana has her eye on joining the Inverell Saints ladies (2017 premier) team in the newly formed AFL North West Women’s competition when she is old enough. Her brother Diesel is also looking forward to playing in the Saint’s under 14 mixed team in 2018.
Parents Aaron and Robyn are actively pushing to grow the sport in Glen Innes, with their introduction of Auskick last season and now an active role in the NIAS AFL program. Along with AFL development officials, the family are working towards a possible Junior AFL club in coming years.
Aaron says that Auskick got his daughter involved in football. He played for 15 years in Victoria so football runs in the family’s blood. He says “She doesn’t like netball so she was looking for something else.” Montana added that she was “excited for the challenge” and wants to show people in the local area that AFL is more fun and skilful than perceived up here.
A committee for Auskick is currently being organized to help the family continue the program in 2018. The pair received an award; the North West Region’s “Auskick Coordinators of the Year”. for their 2017 season.
Anyone interested can contact Robyn on 0438 340 838.