NINE of the region’s best junior Aussie Rules players strutted their stuff when the The Northern Heat representative AFL program kicked off on Sunday.
Featuring the best under 17 players from the North Coast, North West, and Northern Rivers regions, the representative squad included players from the Gunnedah Bulldogs, New England Nomads, Inverell Saints, Tamworth Swans and Tamworth Kangaroos.
Northern Heat coach Matt Anderson said he was “very impressed” with his side’s first outing.
“We know from data out of National Championships that individual players average around four minutes in possession of the ball across an eighty minute match,” Anderson said.
“The rest of the time they have to be able to run, shepherd, tackle, communicate, and support their team mates, so our session focused on what needs to be done when we don't have the ball.”
The team’s performance throughout the session was monitored by Southern Cross University’s sports science staff.
“With fantastic support from SCU sport science staff, we were able to use GPS units to measure the boys efforts, which showed that across our session, the players ran up to eight kilometres at a maximum speed of 34 kilometres an hour,” Anderson said.
“This is comparable to the efforts of players at [the] National Championships, and highlights the fact that our players have the capacity to go further in our game.”
The team’s next session will be held in Armidale on November 24, which will give them the chance to work with a former Sydney Swans strength and conditioning coach.
The Northern Heat program will continue into 2019 and will culminate with a match against a team from the Gold Coast.
2019 Northern Heat squad:
- Joel Ashby (Grafton Tigers)
- Kade Bagnall (Grafton Tigers)
- Hayden Baker (Gunnedah Bulldogs)
- Jack Barwick (Byron/Coolangatta)
- Jake Benson (Coffs Breakers)
- Coen Chambers (Coffs Breakers)
- Morgan Dunn (Walcha/New England Nomads)
- Liam Fitzpatrick (Casino/Lismore Swans)
- Ed George (Tamworth Swans)
- Ben Gibbeson (Coffs Breakers)
- Charlie Goodlet (Byron/Coolangatta)
- Marraki Kilpatrick (Port Magpies)
- Tom Maher (Gunnedah Bulldogs)
- Lachie Martin (Inverell Saints)
- Will Mozzell (Inverell Saints)
- Oli Rojo (Byron/Palm Beach Currumbin)
- Ethan Sekac (Pottsville/Coolangatta)
- Jordan Sue-Fong (Inverell Saints)
- Jasper Thomas (Gunnedah Bulldogs)
- James Vallender (Tamworth Kangaroos)
- Evan Whitty (Grafton Tigers)
- AJ Williams (Casino/Lismore Swans)
- Jack Winning (Pottsville/Coolangatta)