A note from NT Thunder Academy Coach, Jason Roe about what's been happening when he, Joel Jeffrey, Brodie Lake, Tyrell Lui and Brandon Rusca had their NAB AFL Academy experience with the Gold Coast SUNS.
It's been great to see the boys settling into AFL life with the Gold Coast Suns. The first lot of our sessions were with the Gold Coast Suns Academy representatives who are also part of the NAB AFL Academy.
GC Suns Academy Coach, Andrew Raines and I ran a craft session with our NT boys and their representatives on Tuesday which was great. I have also been able to shadow the senior coaches in the main sessions, which has been invaluable.
Joel Jeffrey and Brandon Rusca, who has been assisting the players and helping even out the numbers back in Darwin, trained with the midfield/forwards seniors for a session, while Brodie Lake and Tyrell Lui trained with the backs. While here for the next week and a bit the boys will undertake weights, skills and education sessions and will have more opportunities to train with the senior squad.
It was week two for our NT lads and they were up and about, positive, bubbly and looking forward to another challenging week ahead. Unfortunately for Tyrrell Lui, he copped a knee injury last week in a contested drill so was limited to modified training and was in the rehab group where he worked his backside off. Brandon Rusca joined the main group and slotted in very well with his good skills on both sides of his body, while his pace was used to his advantage. Joel Jeffrey impressed with his aerial marking and kicking skills, while the feedback from a lot of the senior coaches and a clear standout overall was Brodie Lake. Brodie always sought feedback from coaches and senior players about areas of his game and how he could improve. His attention to detail was impressive and his hunger to want to be in this environment was clearly visible. On the back of this Brodie was given an Indigenous Gold Coast Suns jumper as a reward.
Jack Bowes (pick no. 10 in the 2016 AFL draft ) came through a similar pathway to what the boys are in today. Based in Cairns, he was selected in the GC Suns Academy and later represented the Allies before he was on GC Suns senior list. Gold Coast Suns Academy Coach, Andrew Raines felt it was a perfect fit for jack to speak to the lads as he was voted the 2019 Most Professional Player by his peers. He took time out of his busy pre-season schedule to talk to the players about what it takes to be a professional AFL footballer and what commitment, effort and resilience are required to be a consistent performer both on and off the field. The guys took a lot out of the conversation and will look to use this as a guide coming into their draft year.
Sadly all good things come to an end and we leave here after a two-week intensive training block, landing back in Darwin tomorrow. We have all learnt so much during our time and look forward to strengthening our relationship in the future.