Three Inverell boys are getting set to make their mark on the big stage this weekend.
AFL athletes from Northern Inland Academy of Sport Cody McGillivray, Seb Blair and Jonno Roberts have been selected to play a curtain raiser match for the pre-season JLT Community Series game between Sydney Swans and North Melbourne Kangaroos on Sunday at Coffs Harbour.
“This is a really big deal for these young athletes,” NIAS AFL team manager Sonia Martin said.
This is a really big deal for these young athletes.Sonia Martin
Ms Martin said crowds in excess of 7000 people were expected to attend with the best of the best to play from across the region.
“The game will see kids selected from NIAS plus the North Coast Academy and reps from the Northern Rivers,” she said.
“The kids trained yesterday [Sunday] in the heat and they were just so determined and worked so hard.
“They will leave Friday for Coffs Harbour and then have a three-and-a-half hour training session on Saturday and then Saturday afternoon they have a presentation dinner.
“On Sunday morning they will also get the chance to watch the Sydney Swans train.”
Inverell Saints and NIAS AFL head coach Alan Martin identified the boys from the NIAS squad and said the game was an opportunity for the athletes to test their skills at a professional level.
“It’s certainly the biggest rep game that any of our kids from the North West region can get into,” he said.
“They’ll do a training session with the North Coast Academy side on Saturday and get to train with other boys the same age.”
The boys will also benefit from learning off other coaches, Mr Martin said.
“On game day having the experience with that amount of people and stepping up to another level is excellent and that’s what it’s all about,” he said.
The curtain raiser match will kick off at 11.45am and the main game at 2.05pm at Coffs International Stadium.