Three SUNS have been named to make their AFLW debuts when Gold Coast hosts the GWS Giants at Great Barrier Reef Arena for Round 1 on Sunday afternoon.
Number one draft pick Charlie Rowbottom has been named to suit up in the red and gold for the first time, alongside fellow new recruits Tara Bohanna and Jacqui Dupuy.
Their selections in the Round 1 team were announced to the playing group after training on Thursday night, with AFLW Head Coach Cameron Joyce saying they had worked hard to earn their debut match.
“It’s always an exciting time for the club when you get to tell someone they’re playing their first game,” Joyce told SUNS Media.
“All three of Charlie, Tara and Jacqui have come in as first-year players and really proved they belonged at the level so we had no hesitation in selecting them to play Round 1.
“We’re sure they will the do the club, their families and themselves proud on Sunday afternoon.”
A powerful midfielder who can also play forward, Rowbottom is considered one of the best young prospects in the country, with the 18-year-old named in the 2021 NAB AFLW U19 All Australian team while also being a NAB AFLW Academy member last year.
Bohanna (26) joined the club in August last year after two list spots opened up when Annise Bradfield and Emma Pittman were moved to the inactive list.
A key forward, Bohanna comes from the Southern Saints VFLW program where she kicked 19 goals in 16 matches to win the club’s best and fairest and finish third in the league’s goalkicking, while also being named in the VFLW Team of the Year.
Dupuy found her way on to the SUNS list in a similar fashion to Bohanna, earning her opportunity when Maddison and Teagan Levi were moved to the inactive list.
The 27-year-old is a versatile forward/ruck who originally hails from the Cairns Saints and is a skilled cross-code athlete, having captained the Northern Rays Netball team in the inaugural Sapphire Series.
Dupuy first represented the SUNS in the 2019 Women’s Winter Series, prior to the club entering the AFLW competition, and in 2021 finished runner-up in the QAFLW Most Valued Player award after a standout season with Maroochydore.
The Round 1 match against GWS in Mackay gets underway at 5:10pm AEST on Sunday afternoon.