Saint Mary’s Junior Football Netball club is well represented this year in the Goulburn Murray Youth Football Academy.
The Youth Academy is an elite football development program, an initiative from AFL Goulburn Murray to assist in the development of players from across the region — that have been identified as outstanding players for their age group in their respective leagues.
In its third year, the academy is a program that facilitates groups in the under-13, under-14 and under-15 age categories for both the Murray Bushrangers and Bendigo Pioneers aligned leagues.
The academy program consists of training sessions that aim to incorporate training, skill development, game sense, recovery, strength and conditioning, as well as educational sessions to develop young identified players to achieve and be prepared for high level elite football.
Other local players include Kody Kipping (Seymour Junior Football Club under-15), Ben Bath (under-15) and Angus Murray (under-13) — both from Tabilk Junior Football Club.
As part of the academy under-13 and under-14s players competed in the Academy Challenge against other representative academy sides in Swan Hill in the scorching heat of 33 degrees earlier this year.
Under-13s Sam Thomson and Angus Murray were both part of the playing team and were able to win two out of three games. Sam received an award for his efforts. Angus put in a solid performance playing exceptionally in all three games despite the heat.
Under-14s Nic Quigg, Jack Davey and Alex Elliott were all part of the playing team, winning all three games. Nic Quigg took out player of the carnival and Alex Elliott named in the best players for the final game.
Both sides now continue training in preparation for an intra-club game against the Goulburn Murray Echuca Side in June.
Under-15s played an intra club game against the Goulburn Murray Echuca side on Good Friday at Mooroopna. They are now concentrating on training in preparation for the under-15 V/Line cup at Traralgon in September this year against other Academy squads from across the state.
— Wayne Aldous