Five local players off to State Zone Trials

Five North Coast athletes will be taking an important step towards their dream of playing in the AFL when they take part in the AFL NSW/ACT Joss Under 13/Under 14 State Zone Trials in Albury next week.

The local players have been selected through their involvement in the QBE Sydney Swans Academy program. The Swans and GWS GIANTS Academies will each field three teams in both the Under 13 and Under 14 age groups, with each team playing five shortened matches across the three days of the carnival.

The selected North Coast players are:

Under 13

  • Cedar Barry (Port Macquarie Magpies) – Team Blakey
  • Beau Guthrie (Coffs Harbour Breakers) – Team Papley
  • Tom Ryan (Port Macquarie Magpies) – Team Florent

Under 14

  • Kyan Upsall (Bellingen Bulldogs) – Team Hewett
  • Will Kelly (Port Macquarie Magpies) – Team Hewett

Over 300 players will take part in the three day carnival which has been the start of the journey for many players that now find themselves listed at AFL clubs around the country. The local players will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of current Sydney Swans players Isaac Heeney, Callum Mills, and Nick Blakey who were all developed through the Swans Academy.

With that many matches scheduled for the carnival it’s also a great opportunity to allow talented junior umpires to hone their skills. Sam Case (15, from Bellingen) will be controlling a number of matches across the three days under the tutelage of state umpire coaches which will help him to grow in his craft.

Adding to the North Coast flavour, Rod Mapleson (Breakers) has been appointed as Head Coach of Team Dawson (Under 14) and will be assisted by Ben Gibbeson and Harry Parker (both Breakers), while Adrian Ryan is the Head Coach of Team Papley in the Under 13 age group.

The State Zone Trials are being held in Albury from Tuesday 1 to Thursday 3 October.