NQ Academy Championships this weekend

By Shenae Holloway

The 2014 Under 16 North Queensland Academy Championships kick off at Airlie Beach this Saturday, March 29.

Five teams will compete in the two-day tournament: 2013 champions Cape York, Cairns, Mackay, Townsville, and Capricornia.

State Talent Coordinator for AFL Queensland Jim Urquhart said that player preparation was well under way.

“The boys go through summer training through their Gold Coast SUNS academies, that prepares them in terms of fitness, football knowledge, and their football skills,” he said.

“We do have a bit of a handle on the regions Cairns, Mackay, Townsville, and Capricornia… we don’t get to see the boys from Cape York at all other than coming down to the championships.

“They’re a bit of an unknown quantity…we’re not too sure till we get there where all those boys come from.”

While some of the boys play regular club football, around half of them are selected from communities ranging as far up as Bamaga, Thursday Island, or Badu Island.

The main aim of the championships is to select players to go through to the Under 16 State Championships.

“It’s not about winning, it’s about player development, and it’s about picking the best talent to go through to the next level,” said Urquhart.

From the five competing teams, 27 players will be picked to attend the inaugural camp.

Urquhart will oversee the selections along with the coach of the North Queensland Under 16 side; also Jason Torney, the Gold Coast Suns academy manager, and David Harding from AFL Queensland.

“We’re looking for players who are fit, clean, and can kick the ball,” Urquhart said.

At the completion of the camp, 23 players will be named to represent North Queensland in the Under 16 State Championships.

Match Schedule

Saturday March 29 – Airlie Beach

10:00am Cairns vs Mackay

11:00am Townsville vs Capricornia

12:00am Mackay vs Cape York

1:00pm Cairns vs Townsville

2:00pm Capricornia vs Mackay

3:00pm Cairns vs Cape York

Sunday March 30 – Airlie Beach

9:00am Capricornia vs Cape York

9:45am Townsville vs Mackay

10:30am Cairns vs Capricornia

11:15am Cape York vs Townsville

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