Talented Port Stephens trio Lisa Steane, Andi Law and Maya Stewart kicking goals in their sports

HARD WORKERS: Port Stephens athletes Andi Law, 17 (touch football), Lisa Steane (AFL) and Maya Stewart (rugby union).
HARD WORKERS: Port Stephens athletes Andi Law, 17 (touch football), Lisa Steane (AFL) and Maya Stewart (rugby union).

It has been a strong year for three of Port Stephens' top female athletes but instead of winding down for the season, each have risen even further up the ranks of their respective sports with national selections.

Just days after Salamander Bay football talent Lisa Steane was drafted to the GWS Giants for the 2020 AFL Women's season, Nelson Bay rugby union talent Maya Stewart was selected to represent Australia in the Oceania Rugby Women's Championship and Anna Bay touch football sensation Andi Law was named in an Australian Youth Trans Tasman mixed side.

Speaking to the Examiner after achieving her goal of being drafted into the AFLW, Steane, 24, said she was also pleased to see other Port Stephens athletes excel in their sports

"It's so fantastic," she said. "It's a small community but we do have a lot of talent."

Last week, 17 year old Andi was selected in the Australian Youth Trans Tasman under-18 mixed side.

The Emus squad, made up of 14 boys and girls from NSW and Queensland, will contest the championships to be held at the No.2 Sportsground in Newcastle from January 24 to 26, 2020.

It was not the first time that Law, a member of the Nelson Bay Neptunes Touch Association, has donned the Australian colours in touch football. Last year she represented Australia at the Youth World Cup under-18 mixed tournament.

Andi, the youngest in a family of talented athletes, said she was very excited to be playing at Newcastle in front of a home crowd, which would also include her family and friends.

Andi's oldest sister, Bobbi Law, has just returned from Suva in Fiji where she played in the Australian Prime Minister's XIII rugby league side against Fiji.

Stewart, 19, will continue her rise up the representative rugby union ranks next month when she travels to Fiji with the Australia A women's squad.

She was named in the national 28-player group that will contest the Oceania Rugby Women's Championship from November 18 with Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, hosts Fiji and a New Zealand development side.

"Part of it is World Cup development [for 2021] and getting us more international experience."

Maya Stewart

Maya Stewart

Stewart described the last 12 months as the "never ending season" with this upcoming tour coming off her second crack at the Aon Uni7s, World Schools 7's in New Zealand, maiden Super W campaign with the NSW Waratahs and training as part of the extended Wallaroos squad.

"After missing out on Wallaroos [mid-year Tests] I wasn't really sure what was left this season so it's nice to know this development squad exists," Stewart said.

Steane, a full-time primary school teacher, said she knew it was a matter of not "if" she would be drafted into the AFLW, but when.

An avid sports lover since a young age, Steane fell in love with AFL when she joined Nelson Bay Marlins club's inaugural women's side in 2015.

She played with the Marlins in the Black Diamond league for three seasons before making the move to Sydney to pursue a professional AFL career.

"I've always loved sport. Ever since I was young, I've played almost everything. I did netball and OzTag, and all of them and I was good but never good enough to to make the top team in anything," Steane said.

"When I found AFL I felt like I was really good at it and I always wanted to play professional sport so I put my head down and thought maybe I could do this. I've really really enjoyed the challenge."

Steane has had a connection with the GWS Giants, who selected her as their fourth pick - going No. 23 overall - in the October 22 draft.

In 2016, after captaining the Marlins to a Black Diamond premiership, Steane was invited by the Giants to attend the AFL draft combine.

While she did not make the team that year, she was invited to join the Giants for training.

"I was speaking to a coach and he said that if I wanted to have a proper go of making the league then I needed to move to Sydney."

Salamander Bay AFL product Lisa Steane joined the GWS Giants VFLW program in 2019. Last week, she was drafted to the Giants for the 2020 AFLW season. Picture: Ryan Miller/GIANTS Media

Salamander Bay AFL product Lisa Steane joined the GWS Giants VFLW program in 2019. Last week, she was drafted to the Giants for the 2020 AFLW season. Picture: Ryan Miller/GIANTS Media

She did in 2017 and has been a train on with the Giants ever since.

This year Steane, playing in the AFL Sydney Women's Premier Division, won a premiership with Macquarie University alongside AFLW Giants captain Amanda Farrugia.

Steane said she watched the draft live with friend.

"You never really know, but I had a feeling I'd be selected," Steane said. "I was very very excited."

In a statement, Nelson Bay Marlins AFL Club said it was "incredibly proud" of Steane.

"Lisa is the fourth Marlin to be drafted to the professional league following in the footsteps of Troy Luff, Craig Bird and Pippa Smyth," the club stated.

"Lisa started her football career with the Marlins in 2015 when the club first introduced a women's team and in less than five years has reached the top level.

"The club is incredibly proud of Lisa and all her hard work and we are also thrilled to see that the Marlins' commitment to supporting our players achieve their football dreams is again paying off."

Steane will begin training for the 2020 AFLW season with the Giants in mid-November.