Local talent: Brendan Norton, Nick Bailey, Patrick Gillingham and Levi Sands.
Local talent: Brendan Norton, Nick Bailey, Patrick Gillingham and Levi Sands.

Coffs players prepare for trials

WHEN the 2011 Joss State Zone Trials for the State’s best under-18 AFL players begins on Monday afternoon, there will be a definite local flavour.

The opening match of the championships at BCU International Stadium features the ‘home’ Northern Coast team which covers the area from the Central Coast up to the Queensland border and there will be four Coffs Coast players displaying their wares.

Sawtell’s Patrick Gillingham will be playing alongside the tall North Coffs trio of Levi Sands, Brendan Norton and Nick Bailey.

Completing the local element will be the Northern NSW regional manager Mark Heaney who is coach of the team.

Heaney believes the opening match on Monday against the strong Riverina outfit will be the perfect way for his team to measure themselves against a well-drilled unit.

“The expectation is that these blokes learn a bit with the footy that they’re playing and they’re going to play against blokes who are more experienced and are better than them but we’d like to be really competitive against those three southern teams,” Heaney said.

“We want to beat the three northern teams though from the Sydney zones.”

When it comes to the local quartet, Heaney has been impressed with their ethic over summer and looks forward to three of the players coming back again next year.

“Nick, Brendan and Patty to get in as ‘bottom-agers’ is good and those three have worked hard and were among the fittest in the group with their improvement in the 1.6km runs held before and after Christmas,” he said.

“Levi has shown great leadership as well, he’s probably one of the best leaders in the group.”



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