Conditions were horrible – wet and windy, cold and bleak – but the inaugural crop of QBE Sydney Swans Academy girls showed “fantastic” effort in a session on Monday night.
A total of 130 youngsters braced the torrid weather for the Youth Girls Academy Cup at Lakeside Oval, a key fixture in the initial 12-week training schedule of the Youth Girls Program.
The Academy took on budding young girls in under-12 and 13 age groups in April, and they took to the Moore Park venue earlier in the week to participate in a wide range of activities.
Academy General Manager Chris Smith said the enthusiasm of the girls was outstanding despite the terrible weather.
“The first thing that needs to be mentioned is it was very wet and cold and the way the girls conducted themselves in those conditions was first-rate,” Smith told SwansTV.
“It actually ended up being a fun night, with the girls skidding about and playing wet-weather football. We said at the start we can let it affect our performance or we can put our best foot forward – and the girls certainly did.”
The Youth Girls Cup saw the keen footballers take part in a variety of games, drills and sprint training.
Former Olympians Melinda Gainsford-Taylor and Nicola ‘Ziggy’ Zagame headline the Youth Girls Program’s panel of mentors – and Gainsford-Taylor was at Lakeside Oval on Monday to show the girls the ropes.
Smith said the Cup was a success.
“It was a good opportunity for us to see the girls in their entirety and both age groups,” Smith said.
“It was a terrific experience for them.”
Smith says the 12-week training program serves a crucial cause.
“The immediate plan is to ensure we’re teaching these girls the skills, that they’re loving the game of football and that we’re increasing their game knowledge – and they’re certainly doing that.
“We can already see that their skills are starting to improve and that their game knowledge is definitely improving.
“Even some of the play on Monday night in the wet weather showed they’re starting to learn the game and some of the nuances that come with it.”