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Young champ rises

Saturday, 25th January, 2014

Tall timber: South AFL player Mitchell Henderson has accepted a scholarship with Erindale College in Canberra and will make the move to join the Queanbeyan Tigers football club this weekend. PICTURE: Ethan James Tall timber: South AFL player Mitchell Henderson has accepted a scholarship with Erindale College in Canberra and will make the move to join the Queanbeyan Tigers football club this weekend. PICTURE: Ethan James

By By Ethan James

For young footy player Mitch Henderson leaving Broken Hill on Saturday will be met with a mixture of fear and excitement.

The South junior has accepted a scholarship with Erindale College in Canberra which will also see him play for the Queanbeyan Tigers.

He admits he’s a bit anxious about moving out of home for the first time.

But as regularly the case, the parents often find it tougher than the children.

“Don’t ask Mum how she’s feeling, I think she’s more worried than me,” Mitch said.

His mum Kerry said he would, of course, always have a home in Broken Hill for whenever he wanted to return.

“The South footy club have all been really supportive of Mitch and they’ve said to us that he always has a home there if he wants to come back to town,” she said.

“It’s not like Adelaide when you can pop there and back in a day ... but that’s where Skype, Facebook and the internet will come in handy.”

Mitch said the interest from the Tigers came via a “surprise” phone call in October.

He will join the club’s Rising Stars Under 18 squad but has the goal of cracking the top squad in the NEAFL.

The Tigers General Manager Ron Fowlie said the Tigers have a number of players on their roster who have relocated and are in a similar position.

“We try to recruit not just quality players but quality people and from what I’ve heard through the grapevine, Mitch fits the bill and we’re looking forward to seeing him develop at the club,” he said.

Aside from sessions with the Tigers, Mitch is also expecting to train with Erindale and the Greater Western Sydney Canberra-based centre of excellence.

“It’s going to be pretty busy, I’ll be wrecked but I’m up for the challenge,” he said.

Mitch made his A Grade debut for the South Football Club as a 16-year-old last season and caught the eye of many with an eight goal performance in the side’s semi final.

He was first spotted by the GWS Giants academy scouts when he was 14.

He thanked some local coaches for their guidance including Greater Western Sydney development coach Dale Tonkin and former South head man Peter Johns.

“Dale has been the academy coach for some time now and he helped mentor me in the right direction.”

Mitch and his family would like to thank the many Broken Hill sporting associations for their help with travel expenses over the past four years.

Queanbeyan finished sixth at senior level in the 2013 Eastern Conference and are one of 14 teams in the newly-formed North Eastern AFL league.

The competition includes sides from New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory, as well as feeder clubs for the Brisbane Lions, Gold Coast Suns, Sydney Swans and Greater Western Sydney Giants.

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