It’s an exciting couple of days ahead of the QBE Swans Academy in Coffs Harbour.

The next two days will provide some exciting opportunities for the QBE Sydney Swans Academy in Coffs Harbour.

As the senior team arrives into Coffs Harbour on Thursday afternoon to step up its pre-season campaign, the Academy will be hosting a Talent Athlete Assessment for over 100 Indigenous boys from Northern NSW at C.ex International Stadium.

On Friday afternoon, as a curtain raiser to the NAB Challenge match between the Swans and Lions, the QBE Sydney Swans Academy will take on the Brisbane Lions Academy.

Swans Academy head coach Michael O’Loughlin said the Indigenous Talent Assessment presents a huge opportunity for the Academy.

“We’ve got over 100 Indigenous boys from Northern NSW coming to the Athlete Assessment Day which is a great outcome,” he said.

“We’re confident we’ll find some talented athletes and we’ll give those players every opportunity to join the Academy and make the most of the experience,” O’Loughlin said.

More than 100 Indigenous athletes aged 11 to 15 from Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Grafton, Kempsey, Macksville and surrounds will travel to C.ex International Stadium for the Talent Athlete Assessment as they vie for a place in the 2015 Academy squad. 

O’Loughlin said he has high hopes for the Talent Athlete Assessment which for the first time is being tailored specifically to Indigenous kids. 

“There are so many talented Indigenous kids particularly in our zone from Sydney right through to Northern NSW,” O’Loughlin said.

“There’s a huge Indigenous population in Northern NSW who all play a lot of different sports, so they’re versatile athletes.

“The idea is that we want to tap into that talent base and provide them with a pathway to the AFL and give them every opportunity to succeed.

“In Northern NSW, we’ve already got 15 Indigenous players in the Academy but we could easily see that being 30.”

Players from all over the Swans’ zone – including a number from Coffs Harbour – will line up for the Swans Academy when they take on the Brisbane Lions Academy as the curtain-raiser to the main game.

O’Loughlin said the match is a great opportunity for all involved.

“The curtain raiser will be very important for our Academy to test ourselves against the Lions,” O’Loughlin said.

“They’ve done a lot of work and our guys are ready to go.

“We’ve got some Coffs Harbour boys playing in the team so it’s really good to see that the local boys in the area are starting to shine. 

“We encourage all Swans fans heading to the game to arrive early and see how our Academy boys are tracking. It should be a really entertaining clash between the two Academy teams.”

The QBE Sydney Swans Academy v Brisbane Lions Academy kicks off at 4.10pm. The main game commences at 7.10pm.

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