Players earn their spots in Northern Heat program

The Northern Heat squad for the 2020/2021 program has been selected following a gruelling day of selection trials.

The selection day in Armidale comprised draft combine style testing (height, weight, speed, endurance, vertical jump), skill drills, and concluded with hotly contested match play. The weather was kind to the players but the intensity of the three hour long session left each of the trialists feeling the effects of their exertions.

Paul Taylor, Community Football Manager, said that the staff were excited by the talent on display. “Just as we see in the local competitions, each year the standard of our players goes up. Not only are we excited by the quality of players that will be involved we’re also highly impressed by the commitment the players have already shown.”

The Northern Heat program features the best Under 16, Under 17, and Under 18 players from both the North Coast and North West Leagues, making the Heat region one of the largest in the state.

“We had players at the trials who had travelled up to three hours just to be there, coming from places such as Port Macquarie, Tamworth, Coffs Harbour, Inverell, and Grafton,” Taylor said.

“Our program is designed to give the players access to the tools they need to go further in the game. How much they access and utilise those tools is up to them and will be determined by their commitment to working hard both inside and outside of the program. Based on what we’ve already seen, this group of players will work extremely hard to go as far in AFL as they can.”

The program will include video analysis, GPS tracking, and strength and conditioning training conducted by an ex-Sydney Swans coach. The program will finish with a match against the Surfers Paradise/Southport Colts team which last year lead to opportunities for several Heat players to trial with the Southport and Sydney University teams that are currently applying for acceptance into the VFL.

Currently standing at 21 strong, the squad could see a couple of late additions who will be given their opportunity at the first training session once they’ve overcome injury and illness setbacks. The squad is:

Angus Anderson (Sawtell Toormina Saints)

Hamish Anderson (Sawtell Toormina Saints)

Jackson Berryman (Northern Beaches Blues)

Jye Boehme (Grafton Tigers)

Max Bylsma (Port Macquarie Magpies)

Jack Dadd (Tamworth Kangaroos)

Morgan Dunn (New England Nomads)

Cam Gaukroger (Inverell Saints)

Harrison Lee (Sawtell Toormina Saints)

Dale Lovell (Grafton Tigers)

Mikey Luxton (Grafton Tigers)

Isaac Malt (Sawtell Toormina Saints)

Luke Neal (Sawtell Toormina Saints)

Ryan Newton (Inverell Saints)

Alby Popko (Grafton Tigers)

Hayden Proctor (Coffs Harbour Breakers)

Luke Sing (Tamworth Kangaroos)

Ronan Singleton (Sawtell Toormina Saints)

Rhyley Thom (Inverell Saints)

Jaymus Troutman (Sawtell Toormina Saints)

Bill Tydd (Tamworth Kangaroos)