Pennant Hills duo eye AFL Draft
This year when the NAB AFL Draft heads to Sydney in 2016 a couple of young Pennant Hills stars will be hoping their name will be read out. Connor Owen-Auburn and Nathan Cooper have both impressed highly this year, playing a number of games at NEAFL level.
2016 NEAFL Games: 14 (Giants)
Western Sydney product Connor Owen-Auburn has been a member from the GIANTS Academy since he was 13. He has played 14 NEAFL games in the 2016 season, where he joined the Giants in their premiership win over the Sydney Swans.
Owen-Auburn missed out on the U16 NSW/ACT Rams squad back in 2014. Owen-Auburn continued to improve over the next two years, where he was selected in the U18 NSW/ACT Rams squad. Unfortunately the defender missed out on the final selection to play in the National Championships.
From then, Owen-Auburn said he would focus on playing in the NEAFL, “to come from not getting selected to a 15, 16-year-old and then coming back the next year and getting selected in the U18 squad, it was a pretty big step for my footy and it’s kind of gone up from there playing NEAFL.”
AFL NSW/ACT talent and Coaching Manager Darren Denneman described Owen-Auburn as “versatile strong bodied utility type who has impressed at NEAFL level. His ability to consistently run and break the lines has been evident this year.”
The proud Western Sydney resident is determine to make his AFL dreams come true “But if I don’t get picked up by an AFL Club this year, I’ll just come back next year even harder.”
2016 NEAFL Games: 8 (Sydney)
Nathan Cooper who had previously played rugby, was nominated for an AFL Sydney Rising Star in 2015 and joined the Sydney Swans in the 2016 NEAFL Grand Final.
Cooper has been apart of the Swans Academy since he was 13. The Swans’ NEAFL side train with the senior Sydney Swans group once a week to further aid their development, which has benefitted his football greatly.
Cooper believes 2016 has been a year for improvement “I do feel like I’ve improved a lot this year, especially the back end of the season,”
“I think it’s a combination of last year I was doing my HSC as well as playing club footy, NEAFL and couple of TAC Cup games. You’re playing for a different team every week and it’s a big year.”
“Nathan Cooper is extremely athletic tall who can play in either defence or attack. Game still has genuine upside as his skill level continues to be developed. Was a multiple goal kicker on many occasions during the 2016 season.” Said Denneman.