Local teens on tour in Fiji with Flying Boomerangs
On Saturday, AFL NSW/ACT Flying Boomerangs team members, Wesley Clark and David Whyman took off for Fiji as a part of the 2017 Rio Tinto AFL Flying Boomerangs Leadership Program.
Now in its twelfth year, the Rio Tinto AFL Flying Boomerangs program is the national Under 16 male Indigenous development program. Currently, twenty-six Indigenous players from across the country are taking part in the eight-day camp, focusing specifically on personal and career development, leadership and cultural identity.
Clark and Whyman from New South Wales, who play for the East Lakes Mangoplah Football Club and the South West Tigers Football Club respectively, were selected for the Flying Boomerangs national team by AFL Club recruiters, following the 2017 AFL National Diversity Championships in April. Their selection was also based on school attendance, leadership skills, and football ability.
The Fiji program coincides with the AFL’s Under 15 Youth Oceania Cup, where teams from across Fiji, Vanuatu, and Nauru will compete in a Lightning Series. In addition, the Boomerangs team will play a match against an All Stars team from the Oceania Cup on Wednesday.
So far, the participants have also visited a local church, participated in high-performance training, held mock draft interviews, and will be visiting Yanuca Island for a day trip this Thursday.
AFL Head of Game Development, Andrew Dillon, said the Rio Tinto AFL Flying Boomerangs tour to Fiji was built to assist in providing development opportunities both on and off the field.
“We know the young men involved in this elite talent program will become the next generation of Indigenous sporting role models as they continue on their pathway into the AFL,”says Dillon.
“These footballers are the best rising Indigenous talent in the nation and are presented with the opportunity to represent their country. The participants are exposed to elite training environments and standards to assist their transition into the mainstream talent pathway.
“A core component of the program is to strengthen their cultural identity. The players we’ve brought together have immense football talent, but the program is also about developing them as young leaders within their own communities.”
AFL NSW/ACT Indigenous Programs Manager, Charlee-Sue Frail says she is extremely proud of the the two New South Wales boys.
“Wesley and David have developed their skills and leadership since participating in the AFL’s National Diversity Championships and Flying Boomerangs programs,” Frail said.
“We are proud of what these boys have accomplished and it is an exciting opportunity for both of them, as they have never traveled overseas before.
“Through the Flying Boomerangs program, we hope they can strive to not only be better players, but leaders in their communities.”