AFL Academy kids face a learning curve

Eight local junior players in the AFL NSW/ACT Talent Academy are set for a steep learning curve this month.

The players attended the Brisbane Lions vs Geelong Cats game at the Gabba in Brisbane last Saturday night to watch two teams who are likely to play finals battle it out.

Rather than watching the game for the great spectacle that it will be, players will be given specific tasks to complete during the game. Tasks include;

- spending a quarter watching a selected player who plays a similar role to them- this may be a Jonathon Brown or Gary Ablett

- attempting to identify specific tactics of each team-eg. Defensive zones, stoppage set plays, forward line set ups

- sitting with another player and Regional Manager, Mark Heaney and discussing the game and what they need to improve themselves in their aspirations to become a NSW/ACT Ram or AFL player.

The following day, Sunday 12 July all players will represent the AFL North Coast Juniors in an Interleague game vs AFL Northern Rivers in Ballina.

The players will also have their skill and fitness capabilities tested when AFL NSW/ACT Talent Manager Darren Denneman visits during the holidays to undertake testing of the players at the Coffs Harbour Education Campus. Denneman will use electronic timing gates to measure each players acceleration, speed & agility. They will undertake the vertical leap for muscular power and a 20 metre shuttle run to measure aerobic endurance.

Denneman will also use the Dartfish Biomechanical program to video and analyse each players kicking technique.

All these development opportunities are designed to assist the Academy members in their football pathway towards the NSW/ACT Rams teams and their long term goal of becoming an AFL player.

Current Northern NSW Academy players are:

Patrick Gillingham (Sawtell/Toormina), Cruz Hastings (Sawtell/Toormina), Damien Attwood (Coffs Harbour Swans), Nick Bailey (North Coffs), Jack Campbell (North Coffs), Alex Stack (Mid North Coast), Brendan Norton (North Coffs) and Nathan Harris (North Coffs).


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