Eloise Petersen and Arizona Cross, both 16, have been named as part of the NSW/ACT Youth Girls representative squad for 2018.

The selection comes a month after their participation in a Regional Academies of Sport gala day, where their football skills were put on show in a clash of 13 academy rosters in Lake Macquarie.

Both young footy stars currently play for the Cardiff Hawks in the Black Diamond AFL Women’s competition, having risen through the junior ranks at the club.

“It’s really exciting, I’m looking forward to getting a chance to test my ability on this level,” Petersen said after the squad announcement. “Hopefully it will lead to some pretty big things down the road.”

“All the girls in the team are incredibly talented and to work off them and increase my talent, it really helps me to get involved and aim for that next level.”

For Petersen, the under 16 squad selection is another step in the direction of the AFL Women’s competition, a target the young Hawks starlet has set for her future.

“Playing professionally would definitely be the goal, that’s where I want to go,” she explained. “I was playing netball [a few years ago] and then joined the Cardiff juniors and it’s so fun. To be at this level now is really fantastic.”

Petersen played half back flank during the Hawks’ first win of the season last weekend, while Cross missed the match with a minor injury. She came off the bench as an major impact sub in earlier matches.

In their appearances in the NSW Combined High Schools Sports Association tournament last year Petersen started as the state team’s fullback, while Cross played in the midfield, with both girls assuming the set-up will be “similar”.

Both Hawks ladies were selected alongside fellow Black Diamond AFL player Dixie Butler, who currently plays for Killarney Vale. Butler was selected as a Central Coast representative.

Cross, Petersen and the Bombers’ Butler will join the representative squad in camp at Albury over the June long weekend, before taking on Victoria Country post-preparations.

The Hawks also boast an under 18 representative in the NSW/ACT AFL youth squad set to tour Tasmania in early June – Matisse Coram-Parker will jet off as part of the 23-woman roster.

Coram-Parker’s first and second matches are penned in for June 1 and 3 at Blacktown Sportspark.

In the Tasmania tests, the Hawks rep star will compete for a spot in the Eastern Allies squad – a combined NSW/ACT and Tasmanian team that will compete in the 2018 AFL Women’s Under 18 Championships in early July.

The combined squad will face the Central Allies, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.

NSW/AFL Youth Girls squad list: Pyper Denneman, Adol Aboui, Berry Fox-Quinn, Jorja Moore, Ellie Shefts, Abby Favell, Jayde Hamilton, Grace Gowing, Emily Pease, Lauren Bird, Cecilia Maher, Abbey Martin, Lucy Anderson, Kiara Beesley, Amy Sligar, Natalie Sligar,  Arizona Cross, Isabelle Cunningham, Dixie Butler, Tarni Evans, Ruby Alchin, Eloise Petersen.