Future AFL stars compete in national competition

Albury is hosting some of the nation’s best young female and male Aussie Rules players. Vivienne Jones reports.

Image: National glory: Teams assemble at the start of the competition.

Three hundred of the most promising AFL and AFLW stars are showcasing their talent in regional NSW this week in the national school sport championships.

The week-long School Sport Australia 2022 Under 15 AFL Championships are on in Albury, on Wiradjuri country, hosted by the NSW Combined High Schools Sports Association.

The NSW teams are made up of the best players from public, independent and catholic schools and will play each of the State and Territory teams once during the championships.

NSW Combined High Schools Sports Association executive officer Jacky Patrick said the best under 15 players from across the country were at the event and were a breeding ground for future Australian Football League and Australian Football Women’s League players.

“There is no doubt talent scouts are watching the games either live or via the live stream. The games have been very competitive with each team only playing each other once, so each game is vital,” Ms Patrick said.

She said the NSWCHSSA partnered with Albury City Council to bring the event to the regional city for the first time since 2001.

“Mayor Kylie King has been extremely supportive of the event, which she estimates will bring around $4 million to the local economy,” Ms Park said.

At the official dinner, Mayor King presented NSW School Sport with a marn grook, a traditional Aboriginal ball the council had commissioned from local artist Glennys Briggs.

The traditional football is made from the skin of two types of possums and will now be used as a perpetual trophy.

The players enjoyed an educational excursion on Monday to Burraja Cultural Centre and the Flying Fruit Fly Circus.

Local high school students have supported the event as officiators and umpires.

A number of AFL stars have gone to the championships in the past, including Geelong Cat’s captain Joel Selwood and Sydney Swan’s player Lance Franklin.

The final games will be played on Saturday with an All Australian Team announced.

Image: A piece of history: The NSW Sports Association was gifted a marn grook, made by local artist Glennys Briggs.
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