Young Turtles turn into Tigers
SIX ECHUCA locals were selected for the opportunity of a lifetime when they took to the field at Punt Road Oval, taking on Hawthorn on Sunday.
Donning the Richmond Tigers guernsey, the Next Generation Academy prospects took on the Hawks’ NGA on Sunday after a day’s tutelage from the 2017 premiers’ coaching masterminds.
Darchi Clarke, Tyson Hay, Rylan Johnson, Tyreece and Montell Kerr, and Allan O’Neill were noticed by Richmond officials at the recent VACSAL Indigenous football carnival, held in Moama.
All six youngsters represented local side Warma Turtles at the carnival.
And now they have had an AFL experience they will never forget.
Leaving Echuca on Friday afternoon, the group stayed and trained in Richmond for both Friday and Saturday.
On Sunday the team gathered and went through their game plan, just as an AFL side would, before running out onto Punt Road Oval to take on the Hawks.
Warma organiser Rachael Stewart said it is not the first time Turtles representatives have been selected to train with the Richmond NGA.
‘‘With the academy, we had about six to 10 players selected last year and then again this year we have another six,’’ Stewart said. ‘‘That came off the back of the junior carnival that we held a couple of weeks ago.
‘‘Richmond rock up to all the carnivals and try to recruit the good kids from there. We had other NGAs there too over that weekend.
‘‘The cool thing about this weekend for us is that they stay with Richmond and they will go through training and nutritional plans, things like that,’’ she said.
Stewart said she was thankful to Richmond for selecting the locals, but they also had to put in the hard yards to impress the coaches.
‘‘Richmond covers the whole river area, so they have picked boys from Shepp who made it from the carnival too, and as far away as Mildura.
‘‘As well as playing against the Hawks at Punt Road Oval, they also get to meet some of the Richmond players.
‘‘So they get a bit of an insight into what it’s like to be an AFL player for the weekend. They do everything a player would, and they take it pretty seriously,’’ she said.
Richmond produced an improved performance on last season, but lost to the Hawks by four goals.
AMAZING EXPERIENCE: Montell Kerr, Darchi Clarke, Tyreece Kerr, Rylan Johnson, Tyson Hay and Alan O’Neill.