Nick Bailey (no.24) in the ruck for the Northern Heat.
Nick Bailey (no.24) in the ruck for the Northern Heat.

Bailey, Norton in State squad

A TENSE two-week wait ended for North Coffs pair Nick Bailey and Brendan Norton when the NSW/ACT Rams under-16 squad was announced this week.

Bailey and Norton attended the State Zone Trials in Sydney during the April holidays, representing the Northern Heat under-16s.

Impressive form at the trials was rewarded with state selection.

The Rams’ squad of 45 players will attend a weekend training camp in Sydney next weekend and it is from this camp a final squad will be finalised to play in the national championships against Queensland, Northern Territory and a ‘world team’.

If selected, both Norton and Bailey are likely to be key-position players.

Bailey, at 197cm, was the tallest player in the Northern Heat team and also the quickest, clocking 3.02 for the 20-metre sprint.

Norton, at 188cm, displayed an exceptional vertical leap at the fitness testing undertaken as part of the Northern Heat program.

The selection of both players in the State squad provides a great incentive to other talented athletes considering AFL football.

Both Norton and Bailey are relatively new to the game, playing just their third season.

Bailey is a talented lifesaver and swimmer, while Norton initially took up the game only to improve his fitness and play with friends.

Coaching the side at the championships will be Danny Stevens and former Carlton vice-captain Nick Stevens.

“With Team GWS coming into the competition in 2012, it is a huge opportunity for these kids to play AFL at the highest level,” Stevens said.

“These players will be exposed to elite-level footy which many haven’t experienced before.

“It is a chance for these players to live life as an AFL footballer in terms of staying in hotels and going through all of the game preparation and recovery sessions.”

Players in the AFL NSW/ACT Rams squad will be closely watched by AFL recruiting staff, particularly the Sydney Swans, who are able to place Bailey and Norton in their academy and develop them for their own club.

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