This is the third Women’s Heritage team to be announced, with the side continuing to grow as the AFLW grows. This season, the side remains largely unchanged, with Gold Coast star, Lucy Single making her first appearance in the side, and Kristy Stratton returning to the side. The Team continues to boast an exciting mix of established AFL stars such as Jasmine Garner from the North Melbourne Football Club, St Kilda star Jesse Wardlaw, youthful talent as well as home grown New Zealand representatives.
This season saw the continuation of the growth made in season 7 and after a huge off season trade period, saw a much more balanced competition, shown by a very different final ladder.
The Calibre of players spread across the team shows the immense talent spread across the AFLW, with Abbey Dowrick, and Ange Stannett both taking out their clubs Best and Fairest awards, and Jasmine Garner being crowned as the 2023 AFLW Players’ MVP
Richelle Cranston makes her final appearance in the side, after struggling with health issues all season, she has made the difficult decision to retire.
To meet the criteria to be selected in the AFLNZ heritage team, each player must either have been born in New Zealand or have New Zealand parentage.
The 2023 team consists of 20 players currently playing regularly in the AFLW competition for their respective clubs.
Youth development programmes implemented by AFL New Zealand continue to work towards a lifetime of involvement with the sport. Equal importance is placed on both the starting point of teaching school children the fundamentals by way of the AFL KiwiKick programme, involvement in Regional Leagues throughout New Zealand all the way through to high performance training for athletes seeking higher honours with AFL.
The introduction of the AFLNZ Youth Competition in 2015 was a major success in placing High School aged students on the pathway to AFL.
This is great news for the future of the sport in both countries. New Zealanders moving to Australia will have an understanding and enjoyment of the game, and Australian clubs will have a bigger pool of talented players to select from. The New Zealand Heritage Team is a reflection of the strong links that already exist between the two countries. A passion for AFL is one of those links that is growing stronger every year.
McKenzie Dowrick was omitted from the side this year as she continues to recover from her ACL injury suffered in 2022. We look forward to seeing her return to AFL next season.