The Townsville Bulletin reports today on a shining star who chose AFL over rugby league. Antony Stewart writes:

Friday, 4 August, 2011

It’s not just his incredible talent that has made Townsville wunderkind Ryan Agita one of Australia’s hottest AFL prospects.

Following stunning performances at the National Under-15 AFL Titles last week, Queensland AFL great Troy Clarke said Agita’s character was proving an equally key element in the teenager’s rise to the game’s elite level.

While Queensland struggled at the championships, the Gold Coast Suns scholarship-holder was one of the talks of the carnival.

As well as claiming the state’s best player honours in Canberra, Agita was a close runner-up as player of the titles and selected in the inaugural All-Australian team that will tour South Africa early next year.

Queensland Football Hall of Fame member Clarke said Agita had stood head and shoulders above the pack.

“He’s the best kid in Queensland for his age group at the moment,” enthused Clarke, who played for Brisbane in the AFL between 1991 and 1996 and is now the Gold Coast AFL talent manager.

 “And he was a real cult figure within the group as well. Obviously he didn’t train with us because he was in Townsville, so the boys never really saw him until a couple of days before we went away … and he still performed at such a high level.”

Impressively, Agita also did it in the very unfamiliar temperatures of the nation’s freezing capital.

On one game day it was -8 degrees while on another, the field had ice on it.

“The conditions weren’t in his favour … so from where he came from and how he performed was a credit to himself,” said Clarke.

Kirwan High student Agita has already been identified as a talent of the future, recently choosing to take up an AFL scholarship with the Suns over a similar NRL offer with the Cowboys, which will see him move to the southern city early next year.

Clarke, Queensland’s assistant coach at the titles, said the midfielder’s display of agility, use of the football and toughness – being a “tackling machine” – quickly showed why he was causing plenty of hype.

But, as many rising stars in the game discover, talent alone won’t take them to the next level.

“He’s got it all ahead of him, it just depends on how he goes about it,” Clarke said of Agita’s potential.

“The ability and potential that people may see in kids is not even half the battle.

“But I have no doubt that he’ll handle himself well. His character is possibly an even stronger aspect of himself than footy – he’s a good kid, with a good attitude. It’s the ones with the strong work ethic and good attitude who end up going all the way.”

This story was posted here courtesy of the Townsville Bulletin. 

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