Cream of the crop picked for Academy
By GREGOR MACTAGGARTmactaggartg@gladstoneobserver.com.au
BITS Saints pair Daniel Hunt and Joel Jeffrey are on a fast track to possible AFL glory after selection in the Brisbane Lions Academy for season 2006.
The talented pair were among 108 junior players from across the Sunshine state selected in the academy squad.
Hunt, 13, earned selection in the Level 2 squad for players turning 14 next year, while 14- year-old Jeffrey is in the older Level 3 squad.
The pair's academy selection is a massive boost to their club, a perennial powerhouse in junior ranks and the AFL Capricornia competition.
Understandably, both boys are excited to be in the squad and are cannot wait for the first academy camp next year.
Hunt, a two time junior league best and fairest winner, was rapt when he found out via the internet he had been picked.
"It was a big thrill for me, I had been pretty confident I would get through the tests, but even so, to be picked is great,'' Hunt said.
A Western Bulldogs supporter, Hunt expressed he would have no hesitation if the Lions selected him to play with them down the track.
"No way, to play in the AFL is a dream for me and if Brisbane was the club, then that would be great,'' he said.
Jeffrey, like Hunt a Victorian by birth, has been a fine player for the Saints since his first game as a nine-year-old.
For him selection was just as big a thrill, but signals the start of plenty of hard work.
"To be picked in the academy is great, but now is really the start of the hard work,'' Jeffrey said.
"Both Daniel and I have been out training hard, because you need to if you want to play in the AFL, that is my goal.''
The talented duo added their grounding at the Saints under coach Craig Brice had developed them as footballers and stood them in good stead for the selection trial in Rockhampton.
As part of the academy training, the duo will be exposed to the top coaches in Queensland and attend training camps with Lions stars in the hope of helping their chances of being drafted into the AFL.
They join Brothers' Jamie Searle as the three players from AFL Capricornia to be selected in the academy.