THE Norwood Football Club is excited about the latest group of Eyre Peninsula Livestock and Real Estate Academy footballers following its sessions at the end of 2016.
Academy sessions were held in Port Lincoln on November 12 and at Kimba on December 11 with sessions coming up in Wudinna this Sunday and in Tumby Bay on February 12.
Former Norwood development manager Robbie Neill, who in December was appointed as SANFL women's high performance manager, said there was a good crop of young players as part of this year’s academy.
We want to give those guys every opportunity to around and exposed to some great training.Robbie Neill
He said Ben Jarvis and Jeb Casanova from Port Lincoln as well as Cam Taheny from Eastern Eyre were expected to make the move to Adelaide in the New Year.
“These guys have got bright futures,” he said.
Another player with promise is Tjerayh Ware from Ceduna who Mr Neill said trained with the under 18 squad and showed some good signs during the pre-Christmas period.
As well as going through match simulation activities the academy players have also been learning about what is expected among Norwood players and have heard from senior coach Jarrod Cotton.
Mr Neill said with more Eyre Peninsula players than ever in the metropolitan squad it showed the academy was providing the pathway for players to advance their football.
“We want to give those guys every opportunity to be around and exposed to some great training,” he said.
“At least we give them this opportunity to make a decision to see if they want to go further.”
The Eyre Peninsula leagues have seen the value of the academy and the pathways it provides.
Mid West Football League secretary Andrew Buckham said the Eyre Peninsula football community was very appreciative because they had seen the great job Norwood has done in such a short time.
“We’re seeing a few being drafted and we’re going to see a few (more) drafted in the future,” he said.
Mr Buckham said it was valuable for all young Eyre Peninsula footballers to receive this type of training and learn what was expected at the next level, whether it was fitness, behaviour, lifestyle or diet.
“For all country leagues it’s great to see what is expected of them at the higher levels,” he said.
Far West Football League has also valued the academy and although he was not drafted through Norwood, former Koonibba football Kym Lebois has provided young players with a fresh example of how they can make it to the highest level.
Far West junior development officer Glenn Dunn said he saw the academy as a stepping stone or pathway to football in Adelaide.
“It’s a pathway for junior people in Far West or across Eyre Peninsula to better their football,” he said.
“Even if they don’t make it to the AFL it’s all about that exposure.”