By the Mackay Daily Mercury
Keen young AFL players at Harrup Park had a man to look up to this week.
Jason Torney, a 195-game AFL veteran with Richmond and Adelaide, was in Mackay overseeing the Gold Coast Suns academy camp, in which 20 players from Mackay and Whitsunday took part.
Torney is now academy coach for the GC SUNS, a position he took up in 2011.
The academy now has 120 players in training on the Gold Coast, and 130 in regional areas including Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns.
The Mackay academy is in its third year, and has several players at the top level including Jacob Lowe from Whitsunday and Mackay’s Jordan Harding, Josh Chiswell, Cody Filewood and Liam Mumford.
“The ultimate aim is to get players into the AFL draft camp in Melbourne,” Torney said.
“But we also want to develop players to State League standard and give them the opportunity to train at the very highest level.
“It’s not only about football but also learning about dedication.”
Torney said he never had academies when he was a young player looking to break into the AFL world.
“This is a little bit more advanced than I had when I was a 17-year-old,” he said.
“It’s all about the boys’ attitudes. You can’t come to these sessions and think you can breeze through.
“You have to have talent but it’s also about your attitude.”