IF THERE was ever any doubt over the promising future within the Ballarat Lady Devils’ ranks, consider this:
When Emma Moran runs out in tomorrow’s clash with Mooroolbark, she will be the oldest Lady Devils player at, wait for it, just 20 years of age.
Given the inexperience of the squad at senior level, it’s staggering to think that the Blockbuster Lady Devils are second on the Football Federation Victoria women’s state league one table, just four points behind leaders Monbulk Rangers.
Moran, originally from Geelong, joined the Ballarat program last season and has recently turned from defender to striker, netting two goals in last weekend’s win over South Yarra.
The positional shift is nothing out of the ordinary for Moran, who has played all over the park during her career, including representing Victoria Country as a goal-keeper at under-14 level.
Moran said she is loving her newfound role up front.
“I’m finding it really good at the moment,” Moran said.
“You see the game from a different perspective. I’ve always been seeing everything happening in front of me, now I am seeing everything happen the other way.
“It does give you a bit more freedom, as well.”
Moran said there was a bright future ahead for the Lady Devils.
“So many of the younger girls have played, like I have, for so many years that they probably have more football intelligence than their age shows,” she said.
“It’s really good. There’s six or seven young girls that have the opportunity to play together for the next 10 years. If they do, they will just be unstoppable.”
Assistant coach Laura Brady is also optimistic about the group’s prospects moving forward.
“The youthful nature of the squad has made them susceptible to upsets, as evidenced in earlier matches against Doncaster and Melbourne University,” Brady said.
“However, it has also built on the foundations that have been laid over the previous two seasons, and the long term future of the squad is looking increasingly secure.”
Ballarat has named an unchanged line-up for the third week in a row and will look to string together a fourth-straight success when it takes on a Mooroolbark outfit it beat 6-0 earlier in the season.
The Lady Devils need a good result to consolidate their place in second with two matches before finals.