FIVE young Eastern Shore football enthusiasts recently journeyed to Geelong as part of the Tasmanian under-12 state team to compete in the Schools Sports Australia National Championships.
Held from 18-25 July, the state team tested their mettle against teams from across Australia, finishing third in their pool and sixth overall with two wins and three narrow losses.
At the closing ceremony the team was awarded the Shield of Sportsmanship, highlighting their role as the fairest team with the best sportsmanship on and off the field.
Clarence coach Jarrod Read said this was the second year Tasmania had been represented in the national under-12 competition.
“The championships are a great opportunity for the boys, as it exposes them to a higher standard of football and is the start of AFL Tasmania’s development pathway and talent identification,” he said.
“Compared to last year, the team had the same win-loss ratio, but the losses were of a smaller margin which showed some improvement.
“The players, coaches and travelling parent group were also very proud to be the first Tasmanian team to win the historic shield and it is a great honour for our state.”
Lauderdale Football Club member Lincoln Arnold, 12, was among those to represent Tasmania at the event and said he had been both excited and nervous about playing.
“I knew the players from the other states were very good, so I was initially very nervous, but we ended up being stronger than we thought,” he said.
“Our motto was ‘fast, fierce and furious’, so that was how we played – we had some wins and it felt good to sing our song.”
Lindisfarne Football Club member Tom McGann, 12, said he was proud to have been given the opportunity to represent Tasmania.
“It was fantastic having four really great coaches to help us prepare during training, as well as when we played the game in Geelong,” he said.
“It felt really great knowing I was playing against the best in Australia and our team went really well, not losing any games by more than 40 points.
“We were all so proud and happy when Tasmania was announced the winner of the sportsmanship award, as we had tried really hard in all our games to make our state proud of us.
“Wearing the map and winning the games was a great feeling, but winning the shield made it all even better.”