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Giant stepup Locals selected in GWS squads

Friday, 8th March, 2013

GWS Giants Slater and Gordon Academy Squad members (from left) Trent Barraclough, Cohen Pettitt, Lachlan Tiziani and Heath Harris. Absent: Sam Simmons. GWS Giants Slater and Gordon Academy Squad members (from left) Trent Barraclough, Cohen Pettitt, Lachlan Tiziani and Heath Harris. Absent: Sam Simmons.

By Darrin Manuel

The dream of State representative honours could soon become a reality for a handful of the city's best junior footballers, after they impressed at the recent Zone Championships carnival.

The locals lined up for Riverina in early February against various combined teams from zones across NSW, with five players earning selection in the GWS Giants' Under 16 and Under 18 Slater and Gordon Academy squads.

Trent Barraclough (U/16), Sam Simmons (U/16), Lachlan Tiziani (U/16), Heath Harris (U/18) and Cohen Pettitt (U/18) all made the primary Giants
Academy squads, while Angus Gillespie (U/16) and Mitchell Henderson were added to the Giants' Development Squad.

"It was good to get the opportunity to challenge myself against the best players in New South Wales," said Tiziani.

"The whole experience was pretty rewarding."

Broken Hill's performance at the carnival was also pleasing for GWS Giants Academy coach, Lachlan Buszard.

Mr Buszard said the strong showing was evidence of the game's strength in Broken Hill.

"It's been really good from our perspective to see a number of Broken Hill players across all the squads," he said.

"Per population, it's a great result, especially given how remote the city is.

"It just shows there's lots of talent out there, and it's our duty to develop these kids to ensure they're the best that they can be.

"This is a good sign for Broken Hill football and shows that it's on the up, and that the (Giants Academy) pathway has merit."

Mr Buszard commended all the players on their efforts, but reminded them that their work was far from over.

"The hardest thing for us is selecting the kids obviously with the skills, but also who will do the hard work off the field," he said.

"They have to be willing to get their hands dirty, so to speak; to get in and do the hard work to be competitive at the next level - at a national level."

Selected Under 16 and 18 players will travel to Barooga on March 17 to play a trial game against TAC Cup team Murray Bushrangers.

The squad will then be trimmed again, and the best players will take on the Sydney Swans' Academy team in Canberra in April.

The Swans vs Giants games will be used to select the NSW State team to compete at the prestigious National Championships.

The Giants have also started to assemble an Under 15 Academy Squad, which so far includes locals Jayden White, Tom Ragenovich, Lachlan Harvey and Isaac Cumming.

Players can still earn a place in the squad via a series of upcoming games against SANFL team Central Districts.

Broken Hill's Giants Academy, coached by Dale Tonkin, will take on the Bulldogs in Adelaide and Wentworth in April and May.

"The Slater and Gordon Academy is all about developing and nurturing the players, but there's a real opportunity there for the players," said Mr Tonkin.

"It will give them a chance to challenge themselves, and take any opportunities that may present throughout the program."

The local Giants Academy will begin training on April 15 at Picton Oval at 5pm.

Players selected to train with the academy will be notified by mail in the coming weeks.

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