Young Tur­tles turn into Tigers

The Riverine Herald - - LOCAL CLASSIES - By Fraser Walker-Pearce

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.

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