I am often asked what do I love most about my job? The answer is always the same – giving young Territorians the opportunity to play the game they love at a high level, against quality opposition.
This week another young NT Academy player will make his debut for NT Thunder in the NEAFL, Izaak Wyatt.
After an impressive Academy series and selection in the Allies squad at national level, he has worked hard to earn the call up.
Five of this year’s Thunder Academy squad members have played senior NEAFL football and that number is set increase in the coming weeks. Both Matt Green and Dom Forbes are set to be available to play next weekend.
On top of that, fifteen of this week’s senior squad have graduated through the NT Thunder academy, which continues to be a solid breeding ground for NT talent. The pathway provided to young talent continues to produce, in recent years we have seen a number of NT Thunder Academy players come through the program and onto a higher level.
Players such as Daniel and Willie Rioli, Brandan Parfitt, Ryan Nhyuis, Tony Olango, Ben Long and Zac Bailey just to name a few all currently on AFL lists. Hopefully we see more young NT talent on AFL lists come this year’s National Draft.
This week’s NEAFL squad truly excites me. A good mix of experience, with youth and enthusiasm, some old heads and some young. To be able to watch first-hand the likes of Cam Ilett, Joe Anderson, Richie Tambling and Boof Ewing mentor the next wave of Territory talent reminds me why this club is so special. Over the past 18 months players such as Abe Ankers and Sam Smith have benefited from this mentoring. No doubt it has played a part in their great form so far, this season.