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Chasing the dream

Monday, 6th December, 2010

Juggling act: Broken Hill/Wentworth representative Lachlan Jenkin (Central) keeps track of the footballs during a handball drill at training Juggling act: Broken Hill/Wentworth representative Lachlan Jenkin (Central) keeps track of the footballs during a handball drill at training

A handful of the city's best Under 18 footballers will pursue the dream of an AFL career later this month when they travel to Narrandera for the NSW Zone Trials.

The trials will pit the top players from Broken Hill and Wentworth against combined teams from Wagga Wagga, Western Riverina and the Murray Irrigation Area.

Players will have the chance to earn a spot in the Southern NSW Stingrays side and compete at the State Championships in Coffs Harbour in January.

From there they can then be selected for the NSW State side to play in the Under 18 National Championships. 

The National Championships are heavily scrutinised by AFL recruiters, and the carnival remains one of the best pathways to getting drafted to an AFL club.

Local AFL NSW/ACT development officer Dale Tonkin said the players were undergoing a six-week training program of fitness conditioning and testing, skills, game simulation and decision making. 

Mr Tonkin said hard work on the track would be essential if the players wished to take their game to the next level.

"The boys are in a position where they've worked extremely hard over the last few weeks, and they've given themselves an opportunity to put their case forward and see if they can impress the selectors," he said.

"All the boys have a complete understanding of what is required, and they know that work ethic is of utmost importance.

"Overall the skill level of the group has been good, and their attitude has been great. "Our focus will be to just get as many players through (to the State Championships) as possible while still working within our team structure."

With many of the players set to embark on their final year of Under 18 football, Mr Tonkin said it was important that they give their all in the upcoming carnivals.

"Some of these boys will be in their draftable year ... It's important they make the most of their opportunities in a system where positions are highly competitive," he said.

"They have to do everything in their power to get the best out of themselves, and their intensity up to a supercompetitive standard."

The Zone trials will begin on December 17.

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