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Teaming up to make their mark

Posted: 5am 12 Dec 2020

North Lakes Eels and Mango Hill State School (MHSS) have kick-started a new Aussie Rules program which may prove to be a winner for both sides.

The AFL club will help coach and equip MHSS students from Prep upwards giving the school skilled players at the start of its AFL years.

In return, North Lakes Eels are likely get more junior members from their involvement with the school-based coaching sessions.

Ideal link

MHSS currently has two youth teams. North Lakes Eels had record junior and youth membership in 2020, despite COVID and the Under 13 Pink Eels reached their grand final for a third successive year.

“It’s an ideal partnership,” said Nick Hills, PE Teacher at MHSS, “the school will get a lot more kids starting their AFL journey earlier.

“At school, we can only usually provide AFL in Years 4-6, but the club can start developing our Preps, Years 1 and 2 in programs after school and at lunchtimes.

“It helps the club get more playing members and the school develop players earlier. When they come into Grade 4 they will have AFL skills.”

Training plan

Brad Smith, a coach and committee member at North Lakes Eels, said though the idea began at the club, this was a “joint link” between the organisations.

“I’ve spoken to Nick (Hills) about us looking to come in when the Schools Cup is on and working directly around some of their training program,” said Brad.

“We wouldn’t be here for every session. We would just come in with some ideas which have worked well for us in training at the club.

“Yes, we hope we’ll get an increase in members, but the main motivator is helping the school grow its teams and introduce kids to us, so they feel more comfortable about coming along.”

“We are looking to provide a joint training top (for the players) and we need to be ordering those types of things for next season now.”

Early start

The new program is set to start in Term 1 next year with training for the Schools Cup in the first and second terms. Season will start when they come back in Term 1.

North Lakes Eels are also encouraging families to use the State Government’s FairPlay Vouchers which can help pay up to $150 of sport registrations and playing costs.

“The vouchers can take away the financial impact on families,” said Brad, “it can help remove a barrier.”

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