Former national player Anna McIlroy with the Warrnambool Youth Girls football team. 120327DW26 Picture: DAMIAN WHITEBRING it on.
Nanjing Night Net

That’s how the Warrnambool Youth Girls’ squad is feeling about its debut in the V/Line Cup, which kicks off on Sunday.

Co-coach Ken Radley, who is taking charge of the team with Daryl Mahoney, said the inaugural side could not wait to compete in the cup.

“They’re extremely excited and they’ve been fantastic to coach,” he said.

“They take instructions, they’re willing to listen and they really try and implement what we’re asking them to do.”

The group had a training session and jumper presentation at Reid Oval on Tuesday night, with top south-west female football export Anna McIlroy making a special visit. McIlroy, from Port Fairy, has retired after a decorated career that included representing Victoria five times and playing for Australia in the 2006 women’s international rules series in Ireland.

“The girls were just blown away by her,” Radley said.

“It was good for them to see just how far they can go with their footy, to play at international level.”

The co-coach said that McIlroy, who was itching to train on Tuesday but forgot her boots, spoke to the girls at the jumper presentation.

The side will have its final training session at Reid Oval tonight before its cup campaign starts on Sunday with a match against Geelong Youth Girls in Geelong West.

“They’ve been going for four or five years and obviously they’ve got a bigger catchment area,” Radley said of the first-round opponent.

“But we’ll show a good account of ourselves.

“The girls aren’t daunted about who they’re coming up against. They just think ‘bring it on’.”

Warrnambool Youth Girls have been training twice a week for more than a month, with numerous players travelling from the east of the Hampden region.

“Most of the girls are quite elite athletes already and have a high fitness level, so (training is) just about them getting used to the football and moving it up and down the ground,” Radley said.

He was pleased that the squad started training with a natural team mentality.

“There’s no big egos and everyone is thinking about everyone else,” he said.

“They’re a real team and everyone’s playing for each other, which is really refreshing.”

Radley applauded the south-west for embracing girls’ football.

“There’s been great support from the broader community,” he said.

Following Sunday’s clash with Geelong, Warrnambool will take on either Bendigo or Ballarat on Monday.

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