Eagle Vale gets more than a sporting chance

Eagle Vale High School will offer up a selective sports stream for talented young athletes in the Macarthur region. Glenn Cullen reports.

Two boys on steps. Two boys on steps.
Image: Kyce and Tallyn Da Silva have welcomed news Eagle Vale High School will have a selective sports stream from 2025.

Up-and-coming Wests Tigers rugby league star Tallyn Da Silva had few complaints about his commute to school, but it is fair to say his brother Kyce should not have any at all.

While Tallyn used to make a 30-kilometre trek to Westfields Sports High, Kyce gets to walk to school from their family home in Eagle Vale.

The difference is, Kyce will also be walking through the gates of a school with a selective sports stream, with Eagle Vale High to join the ranks of sports high schools in 2025.

The announcement was made at the school in Sydney’s south-west today 8 November, the brothers delighted there was now opportunity on their own doorstep.

Tallyn described his time at Westfields Sports High School as “some of the best experiences of his life” but admitted it would have been nice to have been a little closer to home.

“It would have been a lot easier, a lot more accessible and more efficient as well,” he said.

Tallyn made his senior debut with the Tigers last year at just 18 years of age.

“If I was lucky, it was maybe a 45-minute trip. Some days it was an hour, or an hour and a half.”

Kyce, who is in Year 9, has seen what opportunities sports high schools can provide, watching the rapid ascent of his brother from gifted school football player to NRL first grader.

“Hopefully I can have a career in football too,” he said.

“I’m really proud of what Tallyn’s done.”

Eagle Vale High was a natural fit to embrace a selective sports stream, with its sprawling grounds, large population centre in Macarthur, and the area’s long history of growing talented sports people.

Much like Tallyn’s journey to the NRL, Eagle Vale High had to do plenty of work behind the scenes to succeed in its bid to become a sports high school.

Through the efforts of Principal Craig Butler and his staff, the school has seen a significant increase in early entries for university this year, above average growth in 2022 NAPLAN results and an 80 per cent drop in suspensions since 2019.

“We are going to provide a vision for our student athletes and our student athletes here at Eagle Vale High School to make sure they can succeed,” Mr Butler said.

“It’s an exciting time and we’re looking forward to becoming the eighth sports high school.”

The NSW Government has committed $4 million for the initial upgrade of the school.

It will start with programs for boys and girls in Year 7 and Year 9 in rugby league, basketball and cricket from 2025, with staggered entries for the remaining year groups over the following three years.

There will also be scope to consider other sports depending on demand.

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