NSW pair set to fly with AFL Boomerangs

West Kempsey’s Shaydan Close and Cooper Kilpatrick from San Souci will represent NSW as part of the AFL’s premier youth indigenous talent squad.

The 2015 AFL Flying Boomerangs squad will take on a Victorian Diversity All Stars team tomorrow, Saturday November 14, in Melbourne.

The match is the culmination of a week-long high performance camp held in Victoria for the 2015 AFL Flying Boomerangs squad.

Currently in its tenth year, the AFL Flying Boomerangs is a personal development and leadership program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young men aged 14 -15 years-old.

Selected by AFL Talent Managers based on school attendance, leadership skills and football ability, the squad of 25 young Indigenous men have been led by Head Coach Shannon Rusca.

Rusca has been supported by assistant coaches Daniel Charles and former North Melbourne player Eddie Sansbury, with former Melbourne forward Aaron Davey undertaking a mentoring role for the squad.

The Victorian Diversity All Stars have been selected from five multicultural academies based in metropolitan Melbourne and aligned to TAC Cup regions.

Phiv Demetriou will coach the Victorian Diversity All Stars team tomorrow along with assistant coach Nish Moses and mentor David Rodan.

The Multicultural Academies are designed to fast track the development of players from a diverse background and help them transition into the mainstream talent pathway.

Highlights of the AFL Flying Boomerangs camp this week have included visits to Collingwood and St Kilda Football Clubs, an intensive training camp at HMAS Cerberus, and a session led by AFL National Academy Head Coach Brenton Sanderson.

AFL Diversity Manager Ali Fahour said Saturday’s match allowed players the opportunity to put the skills learnt during the camp on display in a high level match against the Victorian Diversity All Stars team.

“The Flying Boomerangs program provides the best young Indigenous players in the country the chance to develop leadership skills and a platform to go on and play at an elite level,” he said.

“During the camp this week, players have tested themselves both physically and mentally at the HMAS Defence Base Cerberus and have been exposed to elite AFL training at Collingwood and St Kilda footy clubs.” – Ali Fahour.

“The camp is built around the four key pillars of the program, Communication, Resilience, Decision Making and Identity, and having former players Eddie Sansbury and Aaron Davey involved allows the players the opportunity to engage with respected role models.

“Whilst there is talent opportunities for the players, the program is also about preparing the next generation of Indigenous leaders with the skills and qualities to become positive role models within their own families and communities,” he said.

Following tomorrow’s match, the Michael Long Medal will be presented to the player who best represents the four pillars of the AFL Flying Boomerangs program.

AFL Flying Boomerangs vs Victorian Diversity All Stars Match

11am (EDST), tomorrow, Saturday November 14

Punt Road Oval, Richmond

2015 Flying Boomerangs Squad:

Shaydan Close (West Kempsey, NSW), Cooper Kilpatrick (San Souci, NSW), Liam Holt-Fitz (Tennant Creek, NT), Patrick Puantjimi (Wurrumiyanga, NT), Michael Mummery (Malak, NT), Peter Wees (Moulden, NT), Philemon Nona (Badu Island, QLD), Phillip Solomon (Bungalow, QLD), Ari Miles (Yeppoon, QLD), Donald Wills (Smithfield Plains, SA), Dallas Barnes (Port Lincoln, SA), Mihail Lochowiak (Woodforde, SA), Tarryn Trindall-Thomas (Hadspen, TAS), Josh Chatfield (Warrnambool, VIC), Kyle Clarke (Shepparton, VIC), Luke Egan (Bentleigh East, VIC), Matthew Walker (Savernake, VIC), Eli Hill (Bunbury, WA), Duane Smith (Nollamara, WA), Durak Tucker (Australind, WA), Ryan Bennell (Bunbury, WA), Joseph Hinder (Kiara, WA), Sydney Stack (Northam, WA), Mitch Henry (Midland, WA), Heath Ryder (Eaton, WA).