This week our program received some exciting news with three players invited to attend the State Combine in October. Together with Malcolm Rosas, who was already a confirmed invitee to the National Combine, this is an excellent result and reward for effort for some fine young men. The hard work they have put in to this point is only the start with a big couple of months ahead.
All four are impressive and have strong chances to find themselves on an AFL list next year, and all have the strengths and character to become long-term AFL players so as an organisation we will be doing everything in our power to give them the best possible opportunity. Rosas and Ben Jungfer both played key roles throughout our Under 18 campaign, before playing some strong football with the Allies at nationals. Rosas has since played two really impressive games at NEAFL level and will have three more games to keep pushing his name forward, starting with tonight against Sydney Uni. Jungfer will continue to play with his school in Adelaide as well as Woodville West Torrens in the SANFL.
A real positive is to see both Kieren Parnell and Nigel Lockyer given an opportunity, having both played some exciting football at NEAFL level over a large part of our season. Lockyer has worked incredibly hard based in Alice Springs alongside our other Central Australian players. His athletic ability, composure and x-factor playing either end of the ground has grabbed the attention of recruiters all over Australia from the first moment he came into our side.
Kieren Parnell’s story is well documented, and it is a great credit to him to find himself at this point after a horrible run of luck over the last three years. Most are well aware of his talent from his Under 16 campaign a few years ago, to see him become a high-quality NEAFL player over the course of the season has been a real highlight for our coaching staff. To succeed at the highest-level resilience is a critical element, and he has it in bucket loads. While we all get to see what he does on game day what most don’t get to see is the work he (and others) do every day in the gym rehabbing, in the ice baths recovering and on the training track over the course of the week.
While these are the only four to be invited there are still others in our program that could easily be given an opportunity come draft time, none more so than Abe Ankers. His season has been exceptional, and he could easily adapt and be a success at AFL level.
What is for certain there will be no stone left unturned in the next few months to give all the absolute best opportunity.