The Riverina Football Nursery

Riverina – it is the talented region everybody is fighting for currently in the Men’s AFL. It is the region that has produced AFL Stars like Wayne Carey, Paul Kelly, Shane Crawford, John Longmire, Billy Brownless and many more. But the talk should not only be about the male talent in the area but the female talent.


Rheanne Lugg spent a lot of time at Swans Districts in WA but was recently posted to Wagga through the Army. Rheanne took the opportunity to play a little footy with the Riverina Lions in the 2017 AFL Canberra competition and has now been drafted to the AFL Canberra Women’s Coach of the Decade – Bec Goddard’s team, the Adelaide Crows.


Although Jodie Hicks played for Belconnen, she did play junior footy for Hay. So Rheanne and Jodie are both doing Riverina proud in that regard. 18 year old Riverina Lion – Ellie Dalgarno-Fixter was one of three NSW players out of 47 women invited to the AFLW Combine at Etihad Stadium in early October and will come into calculation for future drafts.


The Riverina Lions has been in the AFL Canberra Women’s competition since 2003. An amazing effort to play 15 straight seasons despite facing around a six hour round trip to Canberra for away games. They have achieved a lot in the AFL Canberra competition being:

  • Grand Finals – six (2005, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016 – Div 2)
  • 200 Game Players – Julie McLean and Kristen Ireland
  • Team of the Decade Players (2008-2017) – Julie McLean (captain) and Melinda Hyland
  • Team of the Decade Players (1998-2007) – Julie McLean, Kristen Ireland and Racquell Farrell
  • Mary Ann Bainrot Medal Winner (Best and Fairest) – Kristen Ireland (2006)
  • Leading Goal Kicker – Dione Willis: 32 (2005) and Courtney Horan: 42 (2009)


They have an impressive honour role when it comes to females playing in the AFLW as well:

  • Clare Lawton: GWS Giants (2017) and Riverina Lions (2009, 2010, 2013, 2017)
  • Gabriella Pound: Carlton Blues (2017, 2018) and Riverina Lions (2011)
  • Sophie Casey: Collongwood Magpies (2017, 2018) and Riverina Lions (2011, 2012)
  • Rheanne Lugg: Adelaide Crows (2018) and Riverina Lions (2017)


With Riverina commencing a Youth Girls competition, the list of AFLW players from Riverina is only expected to grow into the future.