Two Northern Heat players to trial at VFL level

The Queensland border has opened just in time for two Northern Heat players who will now get a chance to test themselves at the second highest level in AFL.

Based on their performances for the Northern Heat back in March, Angus Anderson (Sawtell Toormina Saints) and Morgan Dunn (New England Nomads) have been invited to trial with the Southport Sharks for a place on their list in 2021.

Southport have been a strong contender for many years in the NEAFL competition, and with that competition folding will make the step up to an expanded East Coast/VFL competition next season where they will play against the Reserves teams of the Victorian, NSW, and Queensland AFL teams.

The Northern Heat squad played a pre-season match in March against the Surfers Paradise/Southport Colts at the Sharks home ground, where Angus and Morgan both stood out. Based on this performance they were identified by Southport’s General Manager – Football and offered the chance to trial.

The trial will be for four weeks, starting on 17 November, where Angus and Morgan will train three times per week under the watchful gaze of the coaching staff that includes Matthew Primus (Port Adelaide player and coach) and Matthew Lappin (St Kilda and Carlton player).

Paul Taylor, Northern Heat High Performance Director, said that the trial is a huge opportunity for the two players. “Not only will they be exposed to coaches with vast experience at AFL level, Southport also has 16 players on their 2020 list who had spent time at an AFL club. Angus and Morgan will be exposed to an elite environment and, if the coaches like what they see, could find themselves on a list next season playing in matches against AFL clubs with recruiters at every match.

“The two players have worked incredibly hard to get this opportunity and will make every post a winner throughout the trial.”

Angus spent time in Melbourne in 2019 where he was a member of the Eastern Ranges Under 16 team that played in the NAB League and also represented the Sydney Swans Academy Under 18 team. He has had an outstanding season in local footy in 2020, winning the Best and Fairest in the Under 17 Competition and finishing Runner-Up in the Best and Fairest in the Senior Competition.

Morgan also represented the Sydney Swans Academy Under 18 team last season before he sustained a serious ankle injury playing for the North West rep team. That injury resulted in surgery just prior to Christmas but he has come back strongly in 2020 with the match at Southport being his first outing since recovering.

This opportunity is likely to be the start of a pathway for other players. “Not only is this a great chance for Angus and Morgan, it will also open the door for more players from North Coast and North West in future. Southport Sharks were very impressed with what we’re doing with the Northern Heat program and are keen to build a strong relationship with the Heat,” Taylor said.

The Northern Heat squad will be training at C.ex Coffs International Stadium precinct on Saturday 14 November from 10:00am to 1:00pm.