Northern Heat to be tested on the Gold Coast

The Northern Heat program culminates on Saturday (7 March) when the team takes on the strong Surfers Paradise/Southport Colts team at Southport.

This the second year that the two teams will have played, with a very positive relationship being formed. This relationship provides a pathway opportunity for players from the North Coast and North West with the Southport Sharks playing in the North East Australian Football League (NEAFL) which is one level below the AFL.

Saturday’s match will be preceded by a NEAFL practice match involving the Southport Sharks and Redland. The Sharks’ key footy personnel will be present to cast an eye over the Northern Heat players and interest is bound to be high with former locals Jai Lyon (Coffs), Shaydan Close (Macleay Valley), and Ben Gibbeson (Coffs) all currently trialing for contracts with Southport.

Irrespective of the outcome on Saturday, Paul Taylor, Community Football Manager, said that the commitment shown by the Heat players has been exemplary. “Our players come from across an enormous region that includes Gunnedah, Moree, Inverell, Grafton, and Port Macquarie. Whenever we train together we have guys travelling for three or more hours just to be there.

“Several players have relocated since the program started and will travel in from Tasmania, Northern Territory, and Brisbane.”

The Northern Heat program was established in 2018 to help talented Under 17 and Under 18 players make the full time transition to open age footy.

The Northern Heat squad is:

Angus Anderson, Sawtell Toormina Saints (North Coast)

Kade Bagnall, Grafton Tigers (North Coast)

Hayden Baker, Gunnedah Bulldogs (North West)

Tim Beattie, Inverell Saints (North West)

Danny Brown, Moree Suns (North West)

Tyler Donovan, Sawtell Toormina Saints (North Coast)

Morgan Dunn, New England Nomads (North West)

Justin Eggert, Port Macquarie (North Coast)

Nick Fisher, Moree Suns (North West)

Marraki Kilpatrick, Port Macquarie (North Coast)

Lachie Martin, Inverell Saints (North West)

Dylan Moore, New England Nomads (North West)

Alex Pyke, Sawtell Toormina Saints (North Coast)

Riley Sandral, Inverell Saints (North West)

Ronan Singleton, Sawtell Toormina Saints (North Coast)

Camden Sparke-Gaukroger, Inverell Saints (North West)

Liam Spencer, Coffs Harbour Breakers (North Coast)

Ryan Swann, New England Nomads (North West)

Noah Swarski, Grafton Tigers (North Coast)

Jasper Thomas, Gunnedah Bulldogs (North West)

Mal Troutman, Sawtell Toormina Saints (North Coast)

Des Tuckerman, Gunnedah Bulldogs (North West)

Evan Whitty, Grafton Tigers (North Coast)

Kye Wilson, Port Macquarie (North Coast)