Friday, 21st March, 2014
By Ethan James
Four of Broken Hill’s brightest AFL prospects are gunning for a spot in the Greater Western Sydney AFL academy side.
Jayden White, Isaac Cumming, Tom Ragenovich and Lachlan Harvey are travelling to Albury to press their claims for a selection in a 30-man GWS Under 16 squad.
The quartet will play in trial games on Saturday, part of the GWS academy program.
Wentworth-based Kobe Mutch, Brian Tyers, Colby Mannix are also part of the group.
GWS Academy Coach Dale Tonkin said that a vigorous pre-Christmas training has left the Broken Hill lads in good stead.
“They’ve been very professional with their training and we’ve done a lot of stuff in regards to core strength, conditioning and running,” he said.
“They have also been consistent with the training and application.
“We definitely think they’re up for the challenge and have the ability and desire to perform at the next level.”
More than 70 players from the GWS development outposts in west and central New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory will converge in Albury.
From there, a squad will be selected that will take on their Sydney Swans counterparts in three games across March, April and May.
If players impress in those matches, a position in the U16 NSW/ACT representative side beckons.
GWS Academy Head Coach Mark McVeigh will be in Albury to run his keen eye on those taking part in the trial.
McVeigh, who played 232 games over a thirteen-year career for Essendon, said the matches were a stepping stone.
“The beauty of these games is that it gives these young kids a snapshot of the elite level in regards to training and nutrition advice,” he said.
McVeigh hasn’t seen any of the Broken Hill boys play footy but says that won’t be an issue when selecting the side.
“Part of the challenge of the role is the logistics and not having seen any of the boys play first hand,” he said.
“But on the positive side of that, I don’t have any preconceived ideas about any of the players.
“Players that don’t make the GWS squad straight away shouldn’t get too disheartened, they stay as part of the academy in their relevant locations.
“It’s not the be all and end all, and lots of players develop at different rates.”
There will be a series of games played on Saturday in a round-robin scenario with players mixed in composite sides.
Jayden White has been a late withdrawal due to injury.
Following the trials, the final squad will be announced on Monday afternoon via the Giants’ Academy website at giantsacademy.com.au