One of the most promising young players in the area is the Bulls’ Darcy Payne.
One of the most promising young players in the area is the Bulls’ Darcy Payne. ALLAN REINIKKA AR

AFL youngsters are rising stars

SCOTT Smithwick knows a good player when he sees one and the astute coach reckons he has quite a few coming through for this season’s under-18 team.

The Paul Archer The Good Guys Capricorn Cyclones squad met at Stenlake Park on Sunday for their final training run at Rockhampton.

“We did ball skills and finished with a solid session of running,” Smithwick said.

From here, said Smithwick, there will be a further training session next weekend at Tannum Sands followed by a training camp, again at Tannum Sands, on the weekend of February 5-6-7.

The goal for the young players is to progress through the AFL Central Queensland development program with players first aiming for a place in the Cyclones, then a position in the trials for the Country Kookaburra’s with that leading to the ultimate prize of age-group, selection in the Kookaburras team.

Smithwick believes this year the talent in Central Queensland could lead to about three or four players making it into that Country team.

“We are definitely stronger than last year’s squad.

“I expect at least five or six to make the Kookaburra trials,” Smithwick said.

“Then I expect at least three in the Country Kookaburras so long as they get fit.”

The five players Smithwick sees as having the best chance of success are Darcy Payne (Glenmore), Daniel Clay (Gladstone), Jacob Mills (BITS), Luke Lambert (Yeppoon) and Daniel Hunt (BITS).

Not only is Smithwick pleased with the way these players have gone in training with players in their own age group but also they matched it in senior competition last season.

A key to being successful in gaining selection to the Kookaburras is being able to gain selection in the Cyclones midfield.

Smithwick sees Payne as such a player as he is a workhorse but also a quality footballer.

“He is very fit at the moment, we are getting plenty of drive out of him,” Smithwick said.

He sees both Payne and Clay as players with that ability needed in midfield.

“Both Darcy and Daniel have good foot skills,” he added.

The strength of the 2010 Cyclones is expected to be in the midfield and through the half backs but the test comes when the side faces Mackay and Townsville at Mackay over the weekend of February 13-14.

The following week the Country Kookaburra trials will be held at Rockhampton.



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