Maribyrnong Sports Academy has provided 6 players (2 former students and 4 current) to the Vic Metro squad for the 2018 AFL Under 18 National Carnival.
Jack Evans, Emerson Jeka, Zak Butters, Stefan Radovanovic, Buku Khamis and Jack Bytel have all been selected in the initial squad of 37 players.
Head coach of Maribyrnong Sports Academy’s AFL program Torin Baker says it’s a great validation for our Academy pathway. “It’s an excellent result not only for the players but for the program here at Maribyrnong Sports Academy. I know the boys have worked so hard to get in the squad and now they have it all in front of them over the next 4 weeks.”
Of the 37 players selected only 10 students come from outside the private and catholic school sector, with 6 of those 10 from Maribyrnong and 1 from Rowville Sports Academy. Baker says the State School Sports Academy system continues to produce. “There does seem to be a bit of a weighting towards non-government schools but the fact that Maribyrnong Sports Academy has more kids in the squad than any other school is a real validation for what we do here and how our students go about their schooling. This is another fantastic result for our Academy backing up on last year as well.”
The Vic Metro team is scheduled to play 2 of its 4 games interstate at Optus Stadium Perth and Spotless Stadium in Sydney. The remaining 2 games will be played at the MCG and Etihad Stadium. Baker admits it will be a tough schedule for those involved. “The first of the four games is this weekend in Perth with the Vic Metro team taking on the very strong West Australians. It’s expected most of the squad will get a run in the first two games before the squad will be cut down to 25 for the final two games against Vic Country and South Australia. I think most of our boys should get at least one game in the Championships, with Emerson being a bottom age player, and he has been in the AFL Academy, it will be a great result for him to have that one game, but I’d expect the other boys who are top age to play multiple games and some might play all.”
High Performance Manager at Maribyrnong Sports Academy Brent Vallance says the amount of work put into these boys since they started at the Academy has no doubt helped them along the way. “It’s not just a validation of what we do with these Students on a Phys Prep basis but we have had a couple of very good staff working with them along the way and it’s great for our partnership with AFL Victoria, an extension of that partnership we provide here with our Strength and conditioning. There is no surprise that some of our biggest users not only during school time but also in their own personal time of our facilities here at Maribyrnong are these 6 boys.”
42 Students from the AFL program here at Maribyrnong Sports Academy are set to embark on a 6-day tour of Darwin which will take in a game against a Tiwi Islands team as well as Sports and Cultural tours.
Maribyrnong Sports Academy is a part of Maribyrnong College, providing a Sport Specialist program to just under 600 Student/Athlete’s. In the program student undertake their normal education day which includes ADP or Athlete Development Program. ADP allows the students to partake in Strength and Conditioning work as well as having access to Dietitians and Sports Phycologists.