We are preparing for an exciting new beginning at the RMIT Women’s Football Academy. However, the University has produced students and players who have gone on to make their mark at the highest level of AFL Women’s. Welcome to Part Two of RMIT’s AFL Women’s history makers…
Steph Chiocci made history as Collingwood’s inaugural AFLW captain, playing all seven games of the 2017 season, before notching another five in the following year.
The daring defender and highly respected leader was taken as the club’s second selection – and eleventh pick overall – in the AFLW Draft and now moves into her third year at the head of the club.
At state level, Chiocci has represented Diamond Creek since 2006, and was a member of premiership winning sides in both 2006 and 2012; as well as captaining the club from 2014. Chiocci was acknowledged as the league’s Best First Year Player in 2006 and was afforded club Best & Fairest honours in 2006, 2012 and 2016. A highly decorated player, Chiocci is also a three-time All-Australian, claimed in consecutive AFL Women’s National Championships in 2009, 2011 and 2013.
Taken as a priority signing by Carlton, the Blue’s inaugural AFLW captain, Lauren
Arnell, pieced together an impressive debut year at the elite level – notching all seven games, averaging 12 disposals and booting two goals. After 11 games at Ikon Park, the midfielder crossed to the Brisbane Lions ahead of the 2019 season to seek further opportunity.
Once a talented state-level basketballer, Arnell first played competitive football for North Ballarat, before making what would become an illustrious move to the Darebin Falcons, where she has collected an impressive nine VFLW premierships. Arnell has also represented Victoria at the AFL Women’s National Championships on six occasions and been selected three times as an All-Australian representative.
Lily Mithen was taken by Melbourne with the club’s tenth selection and seventy-third overall, as the youngest member of the inaugural AFLW draft. Despite her age, Mithen delivered beyond expectation in her debut year, averaging 16 possessions to earn a NAB Rising Star nomination and eventually finish as the award’s runner up.
The courageous midfielder began her football journey with the boys at Newton andChilwell, where she won an Under 14 Best & Fairest and was named Victorian Country Youth Girls Vice Captain. From there, her game has only continued to evolve as she looks to embark on her third AFLW season with the Demons.
Christina Bernardi was drafted by Collingwood with pick number 132 of the inaugural AFLW Draft as a midfielder, but has since staked a claim as one of the most damaging forwards in the game. Known for her accuracy in front of goal and courage to run back with the flight, Bernardi made her mark in the 2018 AFLW season, averaging 11 disposals and 4 marks, to be named All-Australian and finish atop Collingwood’s goal-kicking table.
It was at RMIT where Bernardi was first introduced to football, encouraged by future AFLW teammate Steph Chiocci to join the Redbacks; before moving to Diamond Creek’s VFLW side in 2012. After two years and twelve games with Collingwood, she now starts a new chapter, traded to Greater Western Sydney ahead of the 2019 AFLW season.