STELLA Bridgewater is preparing for her first NAB League game after Greater Western Victoria Rebels picked the South Warrnambool teenager for their NAB League season-opener.
The Roosters midfielder will start her state league game across half-back on Saturday.
Bridgewater, 17, will play alongside fellow Hampden exports Renee Saulitis (ex-South Warrnambool) and Kate Tomkins (Hamilton Kangaroos) against Sandringham Dragons.
She is one of seven debutants for the Rebels but the only first-gamer from the Hampden league.
Rebels female co-ordinator Krista Woodroofe said Bridgewater was a versatile player who deserved her chance.
"From our perspective, last year she performed well in interleague when the DUFFL played AFL Goldfields and that's why she was selected to trial for the Rebels," she said.
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"She's shown immense talent on the field and leadership as well.
"Last week in the practice match she was one of our better players and has shown versatility.
"She's not a big and tall player but what she lacks in height she makes up for in speed and tenacity around the football."
Woodroofe said Tomkins, who hails from Casterton, impressed as a bottom-age prospect in 2019.
"She's a very neat and precise footballer and has shown in the last 10 months that this year she is going to be one of our top-10 or 12 performers for the season," she said.
Tomkins played across half-back last season but will be deployed on a wing in round one.
"She's worked hard on her fitness and ball winning-ability and if the need arises we can still put her on half-back and she can be a general for the girls on the back line," Woodroofe said.
Saulitis, who is in the AFL Academy, is one of the Rebels' game-changers.
"When she gets the football it is immediately exciting when she is anywhere near the goals," Woodroofe said.
"And when she's in the midfield, she delivers the football well to her teammates."
The Rebels will announce their 2020 boys' squad early next week ahead of round one on Saturday, March 21.
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