The Joss State Trials in Albury are always a great experience for Swans Academy boys and we were proud of the way they performed this year.
The intra-state Carnival against the Giants Academy, organised by AFL NSW-ACT, was once again very well run and well organised.
We were extremely impressed by the condition of the playing surface at the Albury Sports Ground and the facilities. The boys are very fortunate to play at a venue that is professional standard.
The weather turned it on too, so it was a fantastic three days for the 170 Academy boys from the Under 13, Under 14 and Under 15 squads who took part.
The Giants Academy squads were stronger than us, mainly due to their physical development and more developed game sense.
But the results didn’t concern us at all, and we always emphasise that we take a long-term approach to development. To put it this way: we’re three metres behind the Giants at Under 13 level, two metres at Under 14 and one metre at Under 15. But by Under 16s, when state squads are selected, we match it with them. Strong representation by the Swans Academy in NSW squads at Under 16 and Under 18 level reflects this progression.
The Albury carnival gives us a unique chance to take a closer look at our players and observe the ones who, even at Under 13 level, have a genuine competitive spirit and real commitment to their football and getting the best out of themselves.
It’s a great way to finish off the footy season, and we hope all our players enjoyed the carnival.
We’ve included a brief report from the head coach of each Under 13 and Under 14 team.
U13 TEAM FLORENT
"The U13 Florent team played some exciting footy, delivering four wins from five games during a hot week at an excellent Albury carnival." Abraham Caroca
Mitch Woods and Colby Hill led the way, and there were strong performances from Nicholas Andreacchio, Toby D’Hondt, Benjamin Liu, Jack Blazey, Russell Royal and Felix Rugge-Price.
U13 TEAM BLAKEY
"All the boys thoroughly enjoyed the carnival. After a shaky start, they became more focused, lifted their work-rate and finished the week with some strong performances." Leigh Forsyth
Joel Cochrane and Sam Bauer performed at a consistently high standard, and Rory Hodgson, Nelson Harris, Ryan Bonham and Cedar Barry were also good contributors.
U13 TEAM PAPLEY
“A team that came together as mates and gelled to play their best football in the final game.’’ Adrian Ryan
Joe Harrison had a very strong Carnival and was well supported by Andrew Murdoch, Zac Nandlal, Josh Bohan, Vasili Vertsonis and Cameron Este.
U14 TEAM HEWETT
“Team Hewett brought a competitive brand of footy to the Joss State Trials - an overall 'priceless' experience for every player to be part of.’’ David Heffernan
Pennant Hills’ Harry Stuart played very well, and there were also impressive performances from Billy Foster, Maverick Sorojevic, Elliot Palmqvist, Bo Baffsky and Ned Hawkins.
U14 TEAM ALIIR
“The week in Albury was a great experience for the boys. Throughout the week they didn't only mature as footballers but also as people, which was great to see.’’ Oli Condon
Lachlan Cabor, James Lugsdin and Caiden Cleary gave their all and led the way. Nick Anderson, Billy Longmire and Liam Lieschke also impressed the coaches with their team spirit.
U14 TEAM DAWSON
“The boys started slowly as they took time to gel and pick up the faster tempo of the games, but by game five they showed they were definitely up to the standard required.’’ Rod Mapleson
Henry James was rock solid throughout the carnival. Others to perform well were Jack Rhodes, Ethan Garcia, Cooper Donald, Sam McMeeken, Cohen Ferguson and Cooper McLennan.