A pair of Illawarra juniors are preparing to take on the country's best, with Dakota Mason and Claudia Decker set to represent NSW at the Australian Under 15 girls Australian Football Championships.
The duo were selected on the back of impressive performances at the recent NSW All Schools Championships, with Decker playing a key role in Combined Catholic Colleges victory at the competition.
Warilla High School student Mason featured for Greater Sydney Combined High Schools, her side finishing the tournament in second position.
Mason said she was pleased by how she played at the competition, but was still surprised to earn a NSW call-up.
"I was hoping that I would get picked, but I didn't think I would, so it was a shock to get picked," Mason said. "In my first game I was a bit nervous, but then I stepped it up a little bit and got my head in the game.
"I was playing midfield and a bit of centre half-forward, as we played more I got more comfortable."
The Australian Championships will be held in Tasmania in late July and early August.
Mason is in just her second season of playing AFL, with the 14-year-old featuring in a boys team for the Kiama Power in 2018 before shifting to the Power's under 17 girls side for this year.
Decker plays for the Wollongong Lions, while the two girls are members of the Illawarra Academy of Sport's girls AFL program, with Mason crediting the Academy for helping develop her skills on the field.
Mason has also been rewarded for her dedication, attitude and commitment to the IAS by receiving a Tier One BaiMed Scholarship.
"It's really exciting to have Claudia in the team, I can't wait to head down to Tassy with her.
"We are pretty good friends, we met through the Illawarra Academy of Sport and got closer through that. The Academy has been really good for helping us develop our skills and it's led to heaps of opportunities through rep and making teams."
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