Early praise and excitement has emerged around 18-year-old Ashanti Bush who was recently drafted at number eight to the Gold Coast Suns.

The youngster comes from the small community of Wugularr (Beswick), just 112km east of Katherine alongside the Waterhouse River in the Northern Territory.

With family ties to Geelong forward Stephanie Williams, Bush’s grandfather’s cousin is also former West Coast Eagle David Wirrpanda.

AFLNT Talent Manager Simon Hargrave said Bush is a phenomenal player worthy of this opportunity to play in the AFLW.

“She has been a huge talent for us in the Cazalys NT Thunder Academy over the past couple of years, was also selected for Allies and I have no doubt she’ll be a great asset to the Suns squad,” Hargrave said.

“Ashanti’s drafting is another demonstration of the investment Gold Coast Suns have in developing our Territory players and we’re thrilled our partnership is continuing to grow.”

Suns Head of Women’s Football Fiona Sessarago said the club sees the potential in Bush as a player to strengthen the forward line and are thrilled to welcome her to the team.

“We’ve been watching Ashanti very closely over the last couple of years and are very excited to have her on board for next season,” Sessarago said.

“The club has a very strong relationship with the NT through our academy programs up in Darwin and it’s fantastic to have players like Ashanti make their way on to our AFLW list.”

Bush is the 17th NT-affiliated player to be listed on an AFLW squad since the inaugural AFL Women’s Draft in 2016.

By Teisha Cloos