AFL North West’s under 17s footballers had the chance to play in “real AFL weather” on Saturday at Tamworth No. 1 Oval.
In the last game of the day – boys 13s and 15s and youth girls had already played – the lights came on as the misty rain continued to fall.
North Coast had made the trip for the representative games and had won all three earlier games.
But North West turned the tide to win 8.17 (65) to 6.8 (44).
“Full credit to the 17s – there was three Swans Academy kids on the other team,” AFL North West secretary Sonia Martin – who also coached the youth girls side – said.
“They [North West] won and they won well.
“It was the first time some of these kids had played a ridgy didge under 17s game.
“The game was very quick and they moved the ball really well.”
Best on grounds for the North West under 17s included Lachie Martin, Ed George, Morgan Dunn.
While the 13s, 15s and youth girls weren’t able to claim a win, Martin said all the sides loved the chance to play.
She also said it was a “massive learning curve” for the teams but they all did remarkably well.
In the youth girls, Maddy Dadd, Daisy George and Sophie Kastelein were the best on grounds while Chloe Newman and Georgie Webster were named rising stars.
Martin said the players had a ball.
“They just loved it,” Martin said.
“Our girls go from Auskick to senior womens so for them to play girls their own age was fantastic.”
Best on grounds in the under 15s match for North West were Dillon Moore, Jared Martin and Jack Dadd.
“The under 15s were coached by Ben Ellis. He was one of our NIAS athletes but is now too old and has taken on a coaching role,” Martin said.
“It was good for the young guys to be coached by another younger person.
“They were down a couple key players which made things tricky but they did really well.:
In the 13s, top performers were George and Munroe Wood, Josh Vallender, Diesel Harvey, Liam Bramley and Jacob Thorsen.
Coach Gerry Taveira said the boys learnt a lot from the match.
“It was a great learning experience for a group of boys playing their first real game,” he said.
“They started to work better as the game went on. Very proud of them.”