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The Rirratjingu Football Program had a close-up look at the NAB Academy Level 2 Camp held in Darwin this week. Senior Coach Hayden Rickard had the opportunity, thanks to Wally Gallio - High Performance Manager AFLNT, to view the functions and delivery of the Academy as a number of AFL former playing greats took some of the top Under 17 talent from across the nation through their paces in the typical Darwin humidity.

Former Brisbane Lions premiership star Luke Power heads up the Academy as Head Coach and he had an arsenal of playing knowledge around him in North Melbourne greats Brent 'Boomer' Harvey and Drew Petrie, Western Bulldogs favourite son Brad Johnson and two-time premiership West Coast Eagles great Peter Sumich. Assisted by a quality support staff of AFL employees and industry experts Power delivered a technical and progressive camp that had components of on-feild learning and off field education that covered Personal Brand and Media Skills among other topics a ready made AFL athlete will require to succeed at the highest level.

Luke Power, National Academy Head Coach/Manager, said that the program not only offers an on-field experience for the players but allows them to learn some of the essential off-field factors.

“When the boys leave our program, we want them not only to become better players but more importantly better people.

“These guys are 17 years of age and come from all around Australia, and we are in Darwin to show them it’s not all about football talent but that it’s also about hard work and being able to commit yourself to the game,” he said.

Football pundits have predicted that the 2018 Draft has the talent to match the 2001 Super Draft headed by Luke Hodge, Chris Judd and Luke Ball. Rickard wasn't game to make that call. He said "Its hard to say how good these kids will go and probably unfair to heap that type of pressure on them. But I was privy to an absolute first class football experience for the players. They are a fine young group and very respectful."

He added "The content here was quality in every session. Our program will be impacted immediately when I report to our staff and we can analyse what components are applicable to our level of athletes. The off-field education was well thought out and we have a educational session next Thursday in Yirrkala that I'm very much looking forward to. Its another opportunity to stay on the learning and building phase and avoid the decline in our third year".

In further news, Kaya Mununggurr will represent the program for the Remote All Stars in the Under 15 Youth Girls Carnival. Mununggurr won an award at the Stars Foundation Awards this week and the Stars Foundation staff can be happy with the significant growth of a large number of their girls this year. Fellow 2017 Gove AFLW premiership winner Teneka Solar has attended as a mentor. The squad is made up of remote players from various Next Gen Academies and Mununggurr joins other Yolngu Girls to give the Geelong Cats a presence at the Carnival.

Senior players Lee Mununggurr, Gapirri Burarrwanga and Luke Bath join Under 16 Junior BJ 'Baby Gatapanga' Mununggurr for NTFL action on both Saturday and Sunday.

The Rirratjingu Football Program would like to congratulate both Gove Peninsula Clontarf Academies particularly Yirrkala School Clontarf on their recent prize giving nights. The program has worked closely with Director Bernie Price over the calendar year and look forward to future engagement in 2018.

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