Park Ridge High School’s AFL Academy is producing results, proof of such is the school’s academy having eight players selected in Queensland state teams after starring for Met West teams at state championships recently.
Park Ridge High School teacher and AFL academy coach Derek Berry said the school is thrilled with the selections.
All up five under 15s girls, two under 15s boys and one under 12s player were picked for the state sides in Jada Campbell, Alysha Torr, Phoebe Refeld, Crystal Patterson and Daneeka White for the under 15s girls and Jack James and Mitchell Fitzpatrick for the under 15s boys and Kaleb Nolan for the under 12s boys.
“We are really proud of all eight of them, and we’re hopeful that they will go to play for the state and learn from the experience and come back as leaders for our academy program,” he said.
“Mitchell will be in the state team for the second year running and will be pushing to make the All-Australian team this year.
“Kaleb is the first under 12s player from Park Ridge High School to be selected for the state team also.”
For year 7 student Nolan he said he was quietly confident heading into the trial that his name may get called.
“I play in midfield and at centre half forward, I was sort of confident, I was hopeful of getting picked,” he said.
“The carnival goes over five different days at Hervey Bay and they announced the team at the end, we don’t know our positions yet.
“I’m pretty strong in a contest, and pretty good one-on-one and I’m pretty fast, when I’m older I want to be a footballer.”
Jack James who had played for Queensland at under 12s level before attending Park Ridge said he feels his previous state experience should hold him in good stead when the Queensland team take on the other states at Maroochydore at the end of next month.
“I reckon knowing from under 12s watching the 15s play at state seeing how fast and big they were will be good going in,” he said.
He said felt his height and strength and versatility helped him get over the line with selectors.
“At met west level I played pretty much all over the field, at full forward centre half back and a little bit in the midfield,” he said.
“The championships were really tough there was a lot of good players, everyone was really good, but I was hoping I’d made it.
James said the academy has helped him get to higher representative honours.
“It’s helped a lot with my fitness, if I wasn’t in it I wouldn’t train as much so my fitness wouldn’t be as high as it needs to be to represent at met west or state level,” he said.
For Year 10 student Torr her state selection comes after only taking up the game two years ago and she credits the Park Ridge AFL academy with helping her advance her game.
“The academy has helped with all my skills, I like to play on ball but I also get put on the wing and down back,” she said.
For Campbell her selection came as a shock.
“I was surprised, I wasn’t even listening and they called my name out and I was like wow,” she said.
“I’m more of a runner I can’t stay back and wait for the ball to come to me.”
Seven of the eight Park Ridge High School student athletes will travel to Maroochydore at the end of next month to represent their state with Daneeka White unfortunately ruled out by injury.
The Park Ridge AFL academy will hold a come a try AFL day at Park Ridge High on August 25 with senior academy players and coaching staff on hand to take players through the finer points and basics of the game.
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