Ben Dempsey and Cory Murphy gained valuable experience playing for the North Queensland under-16s AFL team.
Ben Dempsey and Cory Murphy gained valuable experience playing for the North Queensland under-16s AFL team. Luka Kauzlaric

Rising Suns continue upward trajectory in AFL

CORY Murphy and Ben Dempsey play for different clubs in the Capricornia AFL competition, so it is strange the pair actually play together more every year than against each other.

The two 16-year-olds are representative sensations, with their latest journey taking them to Brisbane for the under-16 Queensland championships playing for North Queensland.

In previous ventures at the competition in younger age groups, the duo have only ever managed one win, so the 2014 season has seen the pair break new ground as part of the North Queensland side.

As two of only four Capricornia players in the squad, the team won two out of their three matches - the only blemish a six-point loss to the Gold Coast, a side thought to be unbeatable.

The biggest win for Murphy and Dempsey was not actually playing at the championships but the lessons learnt from the week away.

"I need to work a lot more on fitness and individual things like that," Murphy said.

"I expected it to be bigger bodies and more skill; a whole lot of talented players."

While both the boys found areas they could improve on, perhaps the biggest lesson for Dempsey was getting into matches from the outset and setting the tone.

He felt he was slow into games, taking a while to be able to dictate proceedings.

"The first game is really important," Dempsey said. "Most sides are selected from first halves. You need to get in there and go for the ball, don't wait.

"We just didn't go in against the other teams hard at the ball."

Both boys felt the team they took into the championships was as good as they have played with, but the next step was to play like it.

BITS player Murphy and the Gladstone Mudcrabs's Dempsey dream of making future Gold Coast Suns teams, of which the pair are already in the academy.

"We can hopefully make the under-18s Suns side, which goes to Cairns, and get selected to play for the academy against Brisbane," Dempsey said.

Now they are back from the Brisbane championships, which were held from May 13-19, the players are putting the hard yards in locally to improve their skills for the future.

North Queensland's results:

  • Match 1: Six-point loss to Gold Coast
  • Match 2: 10-point win over Queensland Diversity
  • Match 3: 13-point win over Brisbane North


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