Bond University this week announced the inaugural recipients of its AFL excellence scholarships, in partnership with the Riewoldt family; Arianna Clarke of Robina State High School on the Gold Coast and Edward Delany of Xavier College, Melbourne.
The 100% full-tuition scholarships will provide an outstanding opportunity for Arianna and Edward to gain a first-class educational experience from Bond University, while at the same time actively pursuing their sporting aspirations.
18-year-old Arianna is School Captain of Robina State High School and as of Wednesday, a Brisbane Lions AFLW player.
Originally from WA, Arianna moved to the Gold Coast to pursue a career in AFL.
“My love for AFL developed from a very young age, competing against boys in under 10s when I was eight until I reach under 14s when I was 13 years old,” she said.
“I particularly enjoy the physicality, competitiveness and awareness that’s needed to play AFL. By nature, I’m a leader, so I also enjoy being able to lead and guide team mates in order to reach a common goal; to win and enjoy the game.”
Arianna has held leadership positions, as Captain or Vice-Captain, of every club team she has played with since Captaining the Under 12 Boys team with Kambalda JAFC in WA. In recent years, she has also excelled in representative football at a regional, state and national level.
This year alone she was named Captain of the Inaugural NAB AFL Women’s ‘Rising Star’ National Academy, the Under 18s Youth Girls QLD state team and the U17s Gold Coast Suns Academy.
She was also named in the Under 18s Youth Girls ‘All Australian’ AFL National squad, was named QWAFL’s ‘Rising Star’ and recipient of the QWAFL ‘Harry Gordon’ medal, as well as being awarded ‘Sports Woman of the Year’ at Robina High School, where she juggles the responsibilities of being School Captain and studying for her final Year 12 assessment.
“My childhood dream and life goal is to become a professional AFL player and enjoy a solid career in the game. At this stage, being drafted into the 2018 Women’s League and playing for the Brisbane Lions AFLW team are my biggest goals,” Arianna said.
“I was blown away with appreciation and gratefulness when I heard I’d been awarded the sponsorship. I’ve had a number of experiences with Bond University in the past few years, as a student and AFL player, and I know it is the highest quality university you can study at with a strong track record in elite sports and incredible facilities.
“I’m also looking forward to beginning my Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science at Bond in January 2018, in order to start my outside-of-AFL career in Sports Dietetics and Strength and Conditioning.”
Ed Delany, the first male recipient of the Bond University Riewoldt family AFL Excellence Scholarship, is an all-round sportsman currently in his final year at Xavier College in Melbourne.
The 198cm 18-year-old from Hamilton in the western district of Victoria has amassed a vast list of sporting achievements, spanning local, district and state events, across numerous sports including athletics, swimming, basketball, lifesaving, volleyball and most importantly football.
Ed played football from a very young age for local clubs as a junior in Hamilton, but his football career went from strength-to-strength when he joined Xavier College as a boarder in 2015, where he played under the tutelage of AFL legends Luke Hodge (Hawthorn) and Matt and Luke Ball (St Kilda and Collingwood).
Ed currently plays as the starting Ruckman for the Xavier College 1st XVIII, and was awarded Colours for the College for football, athletics, swimming, volleyball and community service. He also plays Victorian Country Hampden League, his local country competition, for the Port Fairy Football Club.
Of late, Ed has played in the TAC Cup with the Greater Western Victoria Rebels, and was recently chosen to play in the 2017 Men’s Young Guns Game, an event which is well known as a showcase for emerging talent and potential AFL draftees.
Ed, who plans to study a Bachelor of Laws at Bond University, said he was ‘ecstatic’ when he heard he’d been awarded the Riewoldt family AFL Excellence Scholarship.
My goal is to play football at the highest level I possibly can, and the facilities at Bond are second-to-none,” he said.
“My uncle studied Law at Bond, so I realise what an excellent opportunity this scholarship will give me for my sporting and non-sporting career.
“My ambitions off the field lie in Sports Management, so a Bachelor of Laws would be a great foundation to build my career on.”
“I also love the beach and surfing, so I really can’t wait to move to the Gold Coast.”
Bond University Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Tim Brailsford said both students embodied the qualities Bond sought in its sport scholars.
“Both Arianna and Ed are exceptionally talented footballers and accomplished academics with natural leadership skills, which they’ve exhibited on and off the field,” Professor Brailsford said.
“We’d like to thank the Riewoldt family, particularly Joe and Nick for their support and enthusiasm in delivering this outstanding opportunity for two rising AFL stars to enhance their footballing careers and at the same time gain an internationally-recognised tertiary degree.”
Riewoldt family spokesperson, Joe Riewoldt – father of St Kilda Football Club’s longest-serving captain and 300-game player Nick Riewoldt – said his family was planning to take a keen personal interest in the scholarship recipients.
“We look forward to meeting, and spending some time with, Ed and Arianna,” Mr Riewoldt said.
“As the parent of a professional AFL player, and a former player myself, I appreciate the importance of a quality education. The opportunity this scholarship presents Arianna and Ed to play in a supportive and nurturing academic environment is simply outstanding.
“Further, Bond’s links with the Gold Coast SUNS and Brisbane Lions will ensure they both have the opportunity to gain a taste of life inside professional football clubs and to develop, improve and learn about their game.”
Bond is the inaugural partner of the highly successful Brisbane Lions Women’s team and also a partner with AFL Queensland. The University has strong connections with the Gold Coast SUNS, with several Bond students part of the SUNS Academy Squad and others involved with the organisation itself both from a football and business perspective.
For more information about the scholarship, click here.