NSW/ACT weekly wrap: First Nations Cup; two selected for Diversity All Stars

IT was a big week for youth footballers in NSW/ACT, with the inaugural First Nations Cup held, as well as plenty of representative football.

First Nations Cup

Sydney played host to the inaugural AFL First Nations Cup on Wednesday, with 120 high school students from Sydney, Western Sydney and as far as Dubbo taking part in the eight-team AFL 9s tournament.

The overall aim of the First Nations Cup is to bring the young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities together, while learning the origins of Australian Rules football. AFL NSW/ACT and the National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy (NASCA) coordinated the event, with support from the Sydney Swans and GWS GIANTS.

AFL NSW/ACT Indigenous Programs Manager, Charlee-Sue Frail told the AFL NSW/ACT website that she was thrilled by the success of the inaugural competition.

“We wanted to have a flagship gala day event in Sydney ahead of Sir Doug Nicholls Round, and we’re excited to see it succeed,” Frail said. “We’re proud to partner with an Aboriginal organisation such as NASCA, who is doing great work within our communities and with the younger generations. “It was so great to see young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students meeting each other, having fun, and celebrating their cultural strengths.”

For more information, head to the AFL NSW/ACT website or Facebook page.

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Two named for Diversity All Stars

Southern Power’s Sarah Heptinstall and Belconnen Magpies’ Emily Pease have been selected to represent the Diversity All Stars team for 2018 after terrific performances for the AFL NSW/ACT national Medleys and All Nations sides. Pease was also recently named in the NSW/ACT Under 16 Youth Girls’ squad.

As a part of their selection, Heptinstall and Pease will take part in a national Diversity All Stars program, focusing on leadership and football skill development. Participants will also visit AFL club facilities and gain exposure to an elite training environment, before concluding the week by playing a match.

AFL NSW/ACT Multicultural Programs Manager, Nickie Flambouras told the AFL NSW/ACT website it was exciting to see Heptinstall and Pease progress through the Diversity Pathway.

“This is a very proud moment to have two girls from New South Wales and the ACT represented in the Diversity All Stars squad,” said Flambouras. “It goes to show how our Diversity programs are getting everyone involved in our game, and we are particularly pleased to see two girls enjoying their footy so much. “We are dedicated to the development of females from Multicultural backgrounds, and integrating athletes into our female talent pathways. “We wish the girls every success and will continue supporting them through their development.”

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Swans Academies soar

Sydney Swans Under 16 and Futures Academies have claimed bragging rights over their regional rival, with victories over GWS GIANTS on the weekend. The Under 16s claimed an overall series win after taking out two of the three matches against the GIANTS, while the Under 17s Futures were victorious in the one-off match.

Oscar Davis inflicted the most pain on the GIANTS in the Under 16s decider, booting three goals, while Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden were named in the Swans’ best. Godfrey Okerenyang and Jack Cullen were named among the GIANTS’ best, contributing four goals in the loss. The NSW/ACT Under 16s squad will be released soon ahead of the National Under 16 Championships.

Sydney Swans Academy – 11.8 (74)
GIANTS Academy – 7.8 (50)

GOALS
Sydney Swans Academy – Davis 3, Sheather, Westcott, Dignam, Walsh-Hall, Wright, Campbell, Gulden, Olsen
GIANTS Academy – Okerenyang 2, Cullen 2, Browning, Melksham, Ashley-Cooper

In the Under 17s Futures, Sydney was too good for the GIANTS, running away with a 75-point win. Tommy Baxter was the key goal kicker, booting four goals for the Swans, who ran riot in the second half, outscoring their opposition by eight goals. The AFL NSW/ACT squad for the 2018 Under 17s Futures Series will be announced next month.

Sydney Swans Academy – 15.13 (103)
GIANTS Academy – 4.4 (28)

GOALS
Sydney Swans Academy – Baxter 4, D’Agostino 3, Ellem 3, Bird 2, Watling, Maguire, Gallen
GIANTS Academy – Hicks, Bridgland, Kendall, Grant

For more information on the Academy clashes, head to the AFL NSW/ACT website.

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