OUR YOUNG STARS: Students finish in top three

AUSSIE RULES : Today some of the best female Aussie rules talent was picked up by AFL clubs in the draft.

And in about a decade, Bundaberg could be providing the next wave of stars.

Walkervale State School finished third at the AFL QLD Schools Cup in the Primary Female competition.

The side of Year 5 and 6 girls, defeated the best from Bundaberg to qualify and face the best from the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane North.

Walkervale State School then defeated the best from those divisions to qualify for the semi finals last weekend in Maroochydore.

The side lost to eventual champions Hillcrest Christian College in the semis by 31 points before wrapping up third with a 23-point win over St Mary's Catholic Primary.

"I knew we had something special, how far they went, I wasn't sure," teacher and coach Simon Kelly said.

"I knew that with this quality of girls in a lot of sports we were going to have a good year.

"They are proving it with multiple sports by getting to state finals in a few things.

The school last year finished in the top 16 but improved on that this year.

Kelly said that was mainly through the girls getting more experience.

"We've only got two that play AFL, so any experience is good experience and any training that they do is beneficial.

"That year of understanding the game made them more successful."

Kelly said Madisen Pomerenke and Zoe Stone played well and led from the middle with Rhiannon Itzstein dominating from fullback.

Also playing well were Mia Atkinson and Sarah Bugeja who linked up in the forward line and in the midfield to provide the attack for the school.

Atkinson said she improved a lot with the rules and her kicking and catching.

And it was a good feeling to get through to the finals.

"When we won at the last competition, we were so happy to get to the next stage," she said.

"It was really nice to be able to play with some of my best friends."

Bugeja said the same.

"It was really nice to have another opportunity to show how I can play and show that Walkervale is capable of winning," she said.

"It was also nice to play with Mia and set them up. We were happy to make it this far."

Both said the team would have got nowhere without their teachers and parents.

"A big thank you to Mr Kelly for helping us and supporting us through the journey," Atkinson said.

"I'd like to say thanks to the parents and all the supporters and especially Mia's mum for being our manager," Bugeja said.

For most of the girls this was their last year in the competition as most will head to high school next year.

But Kelly is keen on keeping the school involved and rebuilding again.

"I just hope the Year 6 girls that are moving on continue to play," he said.

"It's been three or four years our girls have been successful and we aim to continue."

Some will play cricket in the Wide Bay T20 Blast competition for their school this weekend in Gympie.



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