Sunny Coast teen in AFL Academy

Caloundra’s Eric Hipwood has been rewarded for a stellar off-season with inclusion in the AFL National Academy squad for 2014/15.

The tall forward showed his potential through their season, with strong performances as an over ager in the National U16 championships.

Hipwood took the attention of selectors with an impressive effort in defence for the Brisbane Lions reserves in the NEAFL as well, underlining his versatility.

The Panther becomes the second Queenslander included in the Level Two squad, alongside Morningside’s Ben Keays.

As part of the Academy ,which consists of some of the nation’s most talented footballers, Hipwood will have the opportunity to participate in camps under the mentorship of high-profile coaches, including former Western Bulldogs captain Brad Johnson, West Coast Eagles premiership player Glen Jakovich and former Essendon Captain, Matthew Lloyd.

The teen’s first experience with the squad will come in the first week of December, at the program’s second camp in Melbourne.

In January, the Level Two players will head to the USA for two weeks, to train at some of the country’s elite sporting facilities.

He will also have two week-long stints of training at an AFL club through the  pre-season.

Hipwood showed his impressive marking abilities in those championships and kicked 10 goals over the three matches of the Championships, including two four-goal hauls.

The 17 year-old had an injury interrupted start to the season, ultimately preventing him from training with the Queensland U18s squad as a bottom ager.

AFL Academies Manager for Queensland and NSW/ACT, Mark Browning, said Hipwood’s selection was

“This is an outstanding result for Eric and a great opportunity to train with the best 35 players in Australia,” he said.

“It is a recognition of his performances at the AFL National U16 Championships playing d and a couple of strong performances playing for the Lions in the NEAFL.”

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