The "Your Local Club" Academy Games
The 2019 Your Local Club Academy Games, held in Newcastle and hosted by the Hunter Academy of Sport was once again a huge success.
The Northern Inland Academy of Sport sent 100 of their athletes and coaches from right across the Northern Inland region, competing in AFL, basketball, golf, hockey, netball, triathlon and tennis. The only sport NIAS didn't compete in was softball.
The games kicked off on the Friday evening with the opening ceremony with over 1000 athletes in attendance plus family, coaches, managers.
The basketball got under way as soon as the ceremony kicked off with the athletes anxious to get it all going. For these athletes, the Academy Games is an opportunity to play against the best athletes in NSW and a chance to prove they've got what it takes to perform with and against the best.
In the AFL women's, the Inverell RSM NIAS program combined with the Southern Sports Academy and the North Coast Academy of Sport and finished sixth out of nine teams. A great effort considering a lot of these girls haven't met before the games, coming from three different academies. It was great exposure for our developing athletes and for our NIAS Youth Girls Academy Coach Georgia Strang.
It was a development year for the NIAS Tamworth City Toyota basketball program with a lot of youth and new players coming through the squad. They held their own against some tough opposition with the boys and girls both securing wins in their play-off finals against the Southern Sports Academy and South Eastern Sports Academy respectively.
For the Tamworth Golf Club Golf program, this was an opportunity to play on some of the finest courses in Australia, playing at the Pacific Dunes Golf Club and the Belmont Golf Club. These are tough and challenging courses which tested the mental strength and the skills of our golfers. Hugh Duncan, Ryan McKinnon, Rhys and Luke Devney were the four golfers from NIAS who represented themselves well over the tough weekend.
The Wests Hockey program found a bit of success over the weekend. The boys going down to Sydney Metro 2-0 in the third and fourth playoff, Liam Smith was named Most Valuable Player from the series for NIAS. In the women's hockey, NIAS teamed up with the Illawarra Academy of Sport and finished in third place after a tough battle with the Western Region Academy of Sport.
In the Glen Innes Services Netball program, Amber Barnden-Hyde was named in the Division 1 merit squad and Elian Cotter was recognised for her efforts in the Division 2 merit squad, a great effort by both girls. This was Amber's second trip to the Your Local Club Academy Games while Elian is a seasoned competitor.
Our Gunnedah and Services Bowling Club Lone Star athlete Emma McInnes represented NIAS in the Triathlon at the Academy Games. Emma raced four triathlon events over the weekend, two individual and two relays. The individual times from the relay counted towards overall results.
Emma's dad Brett McInnes said: "She was thrilled with her result racing against some of the best girls in the state. She gained very valuable draft legal racing experience and was very appreciative of NIAS for giving her the opportunity to participate and was glad she could reciprocate with a podium finish."
The Inland Technology Tennis program saw Vitorio Sardinha from Gunnedah star with the racquet in hand. He secured the U14 boys singles and the doubles titles at the Newcastle Junior Open.
NIAS CEO James Cooper said: "It was a fantastic weekend, we're so proud to see how our athletes represented themselves both on and off the field. They're a credit to themselves."