Six Territorians have been named in the 2019 Rio Tinto Flying Boomerangs and World Team squads announced today.
Twins Alwyn and Jayden Davey from Palmerston are joined by Tyrell Martin from Alice Springs, Alonzo Nelson from Ali Curung and Jack Peris from Nightcliff in the Flying Boomerangs, while Xavier Vallejo from St Mary’s has been selected in the World Team.
The AFL Flying Boomerangs program is a personal development and leadership program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young men aged 14-16 years old. Meanwhile, the World Team is made up of the best up and coming AFL multicultural players from across the country.
The Davey twins have AFL lineage in their father Alwyn snr who played 100 games for Essendon before going on to play over 150 games for Palmerston in the NTFL where he is still playing in and coaching the Men’s Premier League team. Their uncle Aaron Davey played 178 games for the Melbourne Football Club and was a previous mentor in the Boomerangs program.
Martin hails from Alice Springs and in May was named MVP for the Under 15 Redtails boys at the Michael Long Cup in Darwin after some strong performances in the round robin competition. Whilst attending boarding school in Adelaide, Martin was selected in the SA Under 16 team before relocating back to Alice Springs to complete his schooling this year. He is also part of the Northern Territory Under 16 NT Thunder squad and has played senior football in the CAFL for South Alice Football Club.
Nelson hails from the Ali Curung region and has played football in Alice Springs for Ti Tree and Pioneer in the CAFL Under 18 competition.
Peris is the son of Olympian Nova Peris and, whilst he has attended boarding school in Melbourne for the past few years, has strong family ties to the Nightcliff Football Club. He is also an up and coming athletics star and in 2018 was the recipient of the NAIDOC Sportsperson of the Year award.
Vallejo also comes from football royalty in the NT with his father Anthony a five-time premiership player and former captain of the St Mary’s Football Club in the NTFL and uncle, Iggy Vallejo the NTFL Men’s Premier League games record holder. The younger Vallejo played in the Under 16 premiership for St Mary’s in the 2018/19 NTFL season.
Participation in the squads was determined by NGA Managers and AFL club recruiters, following a state talent program and talent identification camp, and based on school attendance, leadership skills, and football ability.
The two squads will fly to Melbourne on Sunday 7 July for a week-long camp where they will undergo a number of cultural, education and football training sessions, before going head-to-head in two exhibition matches at Trevor Barker Oval on 9 July and 12 July.
AFLNT Development Coach, Matt Campbell, said selection in the teams provided fantastic development opportunities on and off the field and the program would thrust the players into the spotlight of AFL recruiters.
“The Boomerangs and World Team programs are vital parts of the AFL talent pathway system and provide a great platform for the participants to develop not only their football skills, but leadership skills which they can take back to their local clubs and communities.
“These young men will be given the tools to became the next generation of role models,” Campbell said.
Rio Tinto is the principal partner to all the AFL’s Indigenous Programs. Rio Tinto is one of Australia’s largest employers of Indigenous people, employing some 1500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait men and women across the nation.