The NAB AFL National Under 16s Championships were held during the first week of the school holidays at Blacktown International Sports Park in Sydney’s West and featured seven Pilbara players representing their state for the first time.
The WA North West competed in division 3 of the championships and was made up of players from the Pilbara, Kimberley and Gascoyne.
After winning the division 3 title in their first year in the competition last year, the WA North West team entered the 2013 tournament with high hopes.
And the Pilbara boys from the red dust played their part with Brayden Hackett, Campbell Garratt, Anno Widders, AJ Lockyer, Tim Narrier, Jonny Shaw and Vincent Adams all playing well throughout the carnival.
During the tournament the WA North West played three matches against the World XVIII, Flying Boomerangs and South Pacific teams in what is considered the “development” competition.
Unfortunately for the Pilbara boys and their teammates, game one saw the World XV111 10.15 (75) def WA NW 10.6 (66).
WA North West’s poor first quarter proved costly for the boys and they weren’t able to make it back despite finishing strongly.
They had managed to reel in a 37 point deficit by the 12 minute mark of the last quarter only to fall away in the final minutes to the miss the win by just nine points.
The goals were evenly spread in this match and the best included Pilbara boys Vincent Adams and Jonny Shaw.
The second game involved a better preparation and a better result with WANW 23.16 (154) defeating the Flying Boomerangs Indigenous team 4.8 (32).
Major goal kickers for WA North West included Aaron Birch with 6, Elijah Howard’s 5, and Sam Petera bagged 4.
Best players were Brayden Hackett, Sam Petera, Sam Seton, Kieren Ard, Robert Simons and Aaron Birch.
The week also finished well against the South Pacific as WANW 111 defeated South Pacific 32.
Aaron Birch kicked 6 goals, while Robert Simons, Aaron Birch, Vincent Adams, Cam Garratt, Shae Butler and AJ Lockyer were the team’s best players.
Sam Seton was not only presented with the WA North West MVP award, but he was also named best & fairest for the entire division 3.
As well as the games, the week included professional coaching and mentoring and a focus on living live like a professional athlete.
This included using AFL team Greater Western Sydney’s facilities to live the life of a professional sports person by following the correct diet, recovery and elite athlete preparation.
But it wasn’t all hard work for the boys as they also took in the Sydney sights.
And with many of them travelling out of the state for the first time, they were amazed by the sight of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge on the rest day visit.
They also made sure they snuck some big city shopping in where they could.
Clint Degebrodt is the V Swans regional development manager for the Roebourne Region.
Photos by Jenni Alward.