AUSSIE RULES: Teen finally gets chance to take the field
FOR the past 12 months, Jade Solley has been training and waiting to make her debut in the AFL Wide Bay women's competition.
On the weekend, she finally got her chance.
The Maryborough Bears entered the new competition last year, but Jade, at 15, was too young to play in the women's side.
That didn't stop her from turning up to training each week to build her strength and skills for the future.
Prue Bidois, whose daughter Montana is a keen player, said the team had been well beaten in its match against the Gympie Cats in the first round of this year's Takalvan's Women's Competition, scoring one point against more than 100 from their opposition.
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But that didn't dampen any spirits.
"They lost the game but had a ball," Bidois said.
Only six players could make the journey to Gympie for the match, with two having to pull out due to work commitments.
So a few Cats players made up the numbers, playing alongside the Maryborough girls.
"Every girl had a smile," Bidois said.
Now 16, Jade finally got to play in the side.
New coach Russell Green is also making an impact.
He tried each player in a number of different positions, with Jade playing in the forwards, then on the wing and in the centres.
"He loves coaching them, he tells me they are like sponges, they just absorb everything," Bidois said.
Many of the girls had watched their brothers or dads play the game and were thrilled it was finally their turn, Bidois said.
Last year was an exciting moment for the club as none of the girls had played before.
This year, with a season under their belt, they can't wait to get back out on the field.
"It's exciting," Bidois said.
The competition will be held over eight rounds, with the grand final to be held on April 6 at Frank Coulthard Oval in Bundaberg.
The Bears will next take on Across The Waves at Maryborough's Port City Park on Saturday.