2017 NSW Young Achievers Tour
THIS year marks the tenth year of the NSW Young Achievers Tour, and three local footy players were lucky enough to be a part of life changing trip.
Colby Peckham, Kaleb Kearney and Tom Stimpson have been playing in the local rugby league competition for years and it’s their dedication and passion that earnt them a spot on this year’s U16’s tour to Papa New Guinea.
The NSW Young Achievers tour began back in 2007 after head of administration for PGN rugby league, Jeff Wade reached out to former Nyngan Tigers coach Col Wright to express his concern for the lack of high profile football players making the trip to his community.
Being from a rural area himself, Col knew what it was like to have no one wanting to travel the distance to play against his team and so he began making plans to take an U16’s team to PNG to compete and after getting permission from the NWSRL association in 2008, Col and his team set off on the first of many tours.
While in PNG, the team competed in two intense games against U16’s Aroma Coast and U16’s PNG. In between games they we’re also lucky enough to dine and meet players of the U16s PNG, PNG Orchids, the Australian Prime Ministers XIII and Jillaroos teams, which was a major highlight for many of the players.
The boys gave it their all in their first game against Aroma Coast and it paid off securing a win with a score of 16 to 4. The curtain raiser played against PNG was a nail biter to say the least, with Col stating it could have gone either way. The boys unfortunately lost 26 to 12 but are to be commended on their incredible efforts and the sportsmanship shown on the day.
When they we’re playing football they spent their time visiting schools and hospitals in the village, hanging out with the local kids and learning about their culture. They were given the opportunity to trek part of the Kokoda track, learning about its rich history and Australian connections. Col says he loves being able to offer this life changing experience to the team.
“It’s not just about football, they experience and learn so much along the way. Seeing these kids who have nothing still be so happy and smiling, it makes them appreciate what they have in Australia.”
Col wants to thank everyone who supported this year’s tour, with a special thanks to Wes Maas who kindly donated training gear to this year’s team. He commends the boys of their incredible behaviour throughout the tour, proudly stating they we’re by far the best behaved crew he’s had.
Planning for next year’s tour is already underway, to find out how you can get involved or for more information contact Col on [email protected]pond.com.
The Under-16s team who recently returned from this year’s NSW Young Achievers Tour in Papua New Guinea.