Northern Heat to feature with Swans and Suns

The Northern Heat representative team will be part of the Festival of Footy associated with this weekend’s JLT Community Series AFL pre-season fixture in the Northern Rivers region.

The Northern Heat will take on the strong Surfers Paradise/Southport Colts (Under 18) team at Byron Bay on Saturday (9 March). The match is part of the Festival of Footy that surrounds the JLT Community Series match between the Sydney Swans and Gold Coast Suns that will be staged at Oakes Oval, Lismore on Sunday 10 March.

The match will be a fitting finale to the Heat program which has included sessions where the players have been tracked by GPS, strength and conditioning work with a former Sydney Swans coach, and contested work against the Burleigh Bombers outfit.

Paul Taylor, Community Football Manager, said that the benefits of the program have been marked. “Every player in the squad has improved dramatically since we began training last year.

“The program has run across the off-season with training sessions and home training programs. People at the players’ home clubs will see just how far the boys have progressed as club training starts to ramp up and the first matches are played.”

The match against Surfers Paradise/Southport Colts is a great chance for the players to gauge their progress against a team that plays in a League that is stronger than the three local competitions that the Northern Heat players are drawn from. With the Gold Coast being a relocation option for many of the Northern Heat players there is also the possibility of connections being made that could open doors for future playing opportunities.

The commitment shown to the program by the Northern Heat players has been a hallmark of the inaugural year. With the geographic spread of players some have traveled over 2,000 kilometres to take part in the three training sessions, with another 1,000 kilometre round trip on the cards to be part of Saturday’s match.

“The commitment shown by the players and their families has been the most impressive part of the program”, Taylor said.

“The coaches, support staff, and I are glad to be able to offer an opportunity that the players have grabbed with both hands. We know the work they’ve done during the program will not only stand them in good stead ahead of the 2019 club season, but will also assist them greatly to push on to higher levels in the short term.”

The Northern Heat squad is:

Joel Ashby (Grafton Tigers)
Kade Bagnall (Grafton Tigers)
Hayden Baker (Gunnedah Bulldogs)
Jack Barwick (Byron/Coolangatta)
Jake Benson (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)