Townsville’s nursery of talent

By Michael Thompson, courtesy of the Townsville Bulletin. Photo by Wesley Monts

TOWNSVILLE’s secret cradle of AFL talent is growing a profile, with Shalom Christian College kicking a grand final double last week.

Shalom won the men’s Townsville AFL colts division final and the school’s open women’s team then followed their male counterparts to win the ladies’ decider.

Shalom finished a season of dominance in the men’s colts division by winning their final against the Hermit Park Tigers 12.10 (82) to 6.5 (41) and the girls beat University Hawks by 13 points.

“People might think these kids went out there and just kicked goals because of their talent, but they put in a lot of work for this,” Shalom coach Tom Hughes said.

“They were so determined to win this year and they trained at least two days a week and then some of them would even join me for runs up Castle Hill.

“We’ve got players from the Northern Territory and Western Australia playing together with our local players, and the thing that impresses me most is how easily they gel together.”

Shalom won last year’s colts’ grand final in a thriller, kicking a goal on the full-time buzzer to win the 2012 premiership.

This time around the script was a little different, with Shalom overcoming a slow start to edge ahead of Hermit Park by halftime and then run out 41-point winners.

Lygle Brown kicked three goals for Shalom in last week’s victory and man of the match Judah Toby was one of four players to kick two majors.

“It was good to be part of a grand final that wasn’t so stressful like last year,” Hughes said.

“We have a habit of starting a bit slow but once we got a couple of goals in the second quarter, we got our momentum and never looked back.

“You could tell which team had worked harder.”

Shalom will now take part in a Townsville inter-school competition featuring other local sporting nurseries such as Kirwan State High School and Ignatius Park College.

Hughes said AFL provided many Shalom students with the drive to succeed academically.

“Sport is such a powerful tool in helping students achieve in the classroom,” he said.

“AFL is big at the school but education comes first, so sport is a positive by-product.”

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