Two former teammates who will lock horns in Saturday nights All-Stars game are both still pinching themselves ahead of the first season of the AFLs national womens league.Western Bulldogs midfielder Ellie Blackburn and Melbourne defender Melissa Hickey, both marquee signings, have this week been in camp with their respective squads gearing up for Saturdays clash at Whitten Oval.Blackburn, who had previously played for the Demons in exhibition games, said it would be a little strange playing against her old teammates, but was looking forward to the contest featuring some of the best female talent from around Australia.It will definitely be different playing for the Bulldogs instead of Melbourne, but for me its the start of something new and Im so excited to be playing for the Dogs, the 21-year-old told ESPN.It will be a chance to showcase womens footy at the highest level; there are so many talented footballers playing this weekend and we can all come together and play a really great standard of football.The nationally-televised contest will feature players who will likely be early selections in next months inaugural AFL womens draft.Teams will be 16-a-side, with six interchange players, while the ball is slightly smaller than the one used in previous exhibition contests. The changes have been made with the aim of reducing congestion and increasing scoring.Hickey said she was proud to again be running out for Melbourne, adding the club had fully committed to embracing the womens game.Im really lucky to be playing for the Dees ... Ive been around the club for three years now and I feel were part of the culture and theyve really welcomed us into the inner sanctum, she told ESPN.[Theres] been nothing but genuine support and buy-in from the whole club and the players, whenever we come to the club. Its really special to continue that journey with them. I was absolutely thrilled when it was announced I could join them [as a marquee player].Ive been part of the Demons since 2013, with the exhibition series, and played every game with them ... Saturday should be an even better standard [than previous games].Here in Victoria weve had 12 months of improvement and it [the standard] has increased here, and Im sure the same is happening in the other states ... its probably not ideal the amount of time we get to train together to develop understanding of how each other plays, the game style and structure, but the 16-a-side [match] should be a very free-flowing and high-scoring game, so hopefully its a great spectacle and a great display of womens footy.Hickey, 31, knows she is nearer to the end of her career than the start of it, but said she was so thankful the womens league was being introduced before she hung up her boots.Its amazing - I have to keep pinching myself, its a dream come true to be able to play in the league next year, she said. I think they initially started talking about 2020 as a date when it could start so I was concerned thatd be at the very end of my career; so when it was announced for next year, I was rapt.Im 31 but Im feeling the fittest Ive ever felt, so Im not too concerned about it; hopefully Ive got a few good years still left in me.Blackburn is at the other end of the spectrum, and could potentially forge a decade-long career at the highest level.Me coming into it at the age I am now is really beneficial and Im really fortunate that weve now got access to a womens league; Im only 21 and hopefully I can stick around for the next decade and play some really good footy, she said.While they will be on opposing sides come Saturday, the duo is on the same page when it comes to the importance of the leagues introduction.From a young age I used to joke around with my mates that I was going to be one of the first females to play AFL and to think back, it was literally a joke because we never thought it would happen.But when the AFL announced theyd set up a national womens league in 2017, it was overwhelming and it took my breath away, Blackburn said.Since then, theres been so much build-up and hype around it - its been amazing and the response has been truly wonderful. Theres so much excitement, all the girls are constantly talking about it, always using the hashtag #journeyto2017 - its always in our thoughts. Its something thats going to be great for the sport itself and for womens sport.As a young girl growing up, my idols were all male footballers and now, they [younger women] can look up and see someone they want to aspire to be, Hickey said. We get to go out to schools and a lot of the kids look up at you and say they play and love footy ... its very powerful to have female role models. Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic . The 43-year-old closer, in his 19th and final big league season, has said hed like to play the outfield. Yankees manager Joe Girardi says hes thinking about allowing Rivera to do it this weekend, when the Yankees finish their season with a three-game series at the Houston Astros. Cheap NFL Jerseys China . 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