Three south-west footballers' hard work has been rewarded with round one debuts for GWV Rebels ahead of Saturday's season-opener against Geelong Falcons.
Warrnambool duo Alysha Ralston and Lily Jenkins, alongside Portland's Jenna Bristow, are among seven players to make their under-18 debuts for the Rebels.
Penshurst's Jessica Rentsch, who has been named co-captain of the under-18 team, is also among the 22-player squad, while South Warrnambool's Grace Schrama is an emergency.
The Rebels will take on the Falcons at Waurn Ponds' Deakin University in the opening round of the Coates Talent League (formerly NAB League).
Coach Sally Riley said her team was ready and looking forward to putting their hard work into action.
"There is a real sense of pride that they want to represent the GWV Rebels jumper for not just them but their hometown," Riley said. "It's super exciting to have six debutantes... who have worked extremely hard over the pre-season in order to earn their spot in the team."
Talent Operations Lead Brooke Brown said the squad had started to "really come together", with a recent camp helping further team bonds.
Brown said many Rebels players had shown perseverance to earn their opportunity after missing out on representative football in previous years.
"We have a number of girls across our squad 18s and 16s who either weren't selected in the Rebels in 2022 or didn't play V/Line. It just shows the strength of those girls and their willingness not to give in, in order to chase their dream," she said. "They just haven't given up and deserve an opportunity."
The under 18 game will start 12.30pm on Saturday, with the Rebels' under 16s playing Geelong Falcons from 10am.
South Warrnambool's Maggie Johnstone has been named captain of the under 16 squad, while Roosters teammate Yezza Hawkins is also named in the squad.
Portland's Maddison Cotten, Marnie Mueller and Chloe Reynolds, as well as Cavendish's Amelia Thomas, will also play.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: