It’s been a big week for current and past Maribyrnong Sports Academy student athlete on the professional sporting landscape.
In what can only be considered a great advert for our female football program last Sunday’s W-League derby between Melbourne City vs Melbourne Victory saw three current or former Marby students and a former coach take to the field.
Former student-athletes Mindy Barbieri and Annabel Martin were in action for the Victory with current student-athlete Nia Stamatopoulos involved with City. Additionally, former Tech Coach Amy Jackson was playing for Melbourne City. Meanwhile current Tech Coach Jayden Anderson was also on the coaching staff with Victory.
A fantastic and rare situation having so many involved from one school in action during a match at the highest domestic level. A proud achievement for all those involved in the past and currently coaching staff.
Then on Thursday, Zak Butters became our first of three students to be picked up by an AFL club as either a drafted player or rookie. Zak was selected by Port Adelaide at pick number 12 in the NAB AFL Draft and carried the full support of Power star Robbie Grey who made the club aware of Zak’s X-factor. “Robbie was onto us all the time about getting Zak,’’ Port coach Ken Hinkley said after the Power selected the Western Jets. “He’s watched Zak pretty closely and kept telling us how good he is and now he’ll get to play with him, which will be great to watch.’’
Second to go was Jack Bytel to St Kilda at pick 41. The classy on-baller’s impact was curtailed by back injuries this season after he was considered a first-round draft prospect. Calder Cannons coach Ross Smith saying the Saints got a bargain picking up Jack in the second round. Bytel has been likened to Sydney Swans captain Josh Kennedy and Port Adelaide skipper Travis Boak.
Later on day two a third Marby Student in Buku Kahmis was also added to an AFL list when the Western Bulldogs picked up the Sudanese born tall. As Buku was a Bulldog Next Generation Academy player they always had first option on him and decided to wait until the rookie draft to pick him up as a pre-selected rookie for the 2019 season.
Buku didn’t take up football until his last year of primary school after moving to Australia in 2006 with his family as a refugee from South Sudan.
Finally the week finished off on a high for another past Marby student in cyclist Lucas Plapp cleaning up at the Oppy’s. Lucas won the best junior road and track cyclist award before also claiming the Junior cyclist of the year. Lucas’ year was highlighted with a silver in the junior men's time trial at the UCI Junior Road World Championships and dual track world titles.
Lucas saying on his Facebook page “Honoured to take out the Junior Track and Road cyclist of the year, and cap it off with Cyclist of the year as well. Thanks immensely to everyone who was a part of the journey from the beginning and this year, and made everything possible - definitely won’t be forgetting this year any time soon.”
Maribyrnong Sports Academy Sports Director Mark McAllion says he’s proud of the achievements of our all our past and current students. “ When you look at our humble beginnings 12 years ago to where we are now, Maribyrnong College is no longer just a small time player in the development of athletes for professional sport via our Sports Academy, we are a school that is seriously being considered as a producer of quality athletes who are quality young adults as well. Full credit must go to our highly motivated coaching staff and physical preparation staff who go the extra mile with our students to ensure they are given the best opportunities to be picked up at a professional level and perform at their best. And credit must also go to our Wellbeing staff and teachers at the school who help mould these students into amazing kids off the field as well.”
MSA high performance manager Brett Vallance pointed to the respect between the staff and students as being a major factor in getting these athletes ready for professional life. “ Our students start in year 7 to learn the basics of high performance via our high successful ADP program. Students continue on the Athlete Development Program right throughout their school life building a relationship with our Phys prep staff for a period of 6 years. And our staff are not just there to show the students how to lift weights and do exercises, they become sort of a life coach and a confidant as well due to the close relationship between the two. When a student succeeds at a high level the whole team celebrates the win, but also when the performance doesn’t meet expectations, it’s back to work, and as a team we reset the goals and work with our athletes to get the job done at the next oppertunity.”