Northern Coast hit the ground running against Riverina during the Joss state trials at BCU International Stadium.
Northern Coast hit the ground running against Riverina during the Joss state trials at BCU International Stadium. Leigh Jensen

AFL under-18s defeat city hotshots

NORTHERN Coast AFL head coach Mark Heaney is a relieved man to finally finish a winner.

After a frustrating run of close losses, he almost lost his voice cheering for the boys when their final engagement at the Joss under-18 State trials ended in an upset defeat of tournament hotshots Western Sydney.

“Honestly, we’ve closed the gap on the strong southern sides and my boys should be really proud of what they’ve done,” Heaney said. “Looking back over the week, Jack Pratt was the star of the side and Tommy Head – who already has a contract with Fremantle Dockers – was not as consistent as usual but still made an impression.

“Of the local boys, Patrick Gillingham impressed the Swans selectors with his clean pick-ups and while Brendan Norton still needs to polish up a few areas, everybody was happy with his defensive capability.

“Overall, the squad has come on in leaps and bounds and there appears no limit to the experience they all picked up in the tournament.”

With the big footy week done and dusted, attention now turns to preparations for the next round of major local AFL events.

“Paul Roos and Adam Goodes will be back for the launch of the Swans Academy early next month,” he said.

“The response, the build-up and enormous profile AFL is getting is incredible.”



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