Young guns get chance to shine
Pic: Nic Ellis

Remember the name Callum Ah Chee.

The Armadale youngster has attracted plenty of attention on the football field already and still has three years to wait before he could realise his dream of playing in the AFL.

Ah Chee, 15, is following a well-worn path - one travelled by the likes of Geelong pair Steven Motlop and Allen Christensen as well as Fremantle's Michael Walters and West Coast's Brad Dick in the past few years - in being identified as one of the most talented young Aboriginal players in the nation.

A strong performance during last year's KickStart under-15 championships earned Ah Chee a place in the Flying Boomerangs squad, which flew to South Africa on Thursday night for a personal development and leadership program.

The 25-strong squad of 14-year-old and 15-year-old Aboriginal players was dominated by WA talent, with eight players from across the State.

The group will play two matches against a South African team, in Potchefstroom and Durban, during the two-week trip.

Ah Chee does not have to look far for inspiration on how to make it to the AFL.

His brother Brendon, himself a former Flying Boomerang, was drafted by Port Adelaide two years ago. While the centre half-forward admits it would be a dream come true to be drafted by the Power and play alongside his older brother, he says just to be recruited by any club would be an honour.

"It would be good to follow in his footsteps and play AFL," he said.

Like many of his teammates, Ah Chee has never been overseas and was excited about the trip.

"I am looking forward to bonding with the boys, exchanging cultures with the South African boys and playing some footy," he said.

The 181cm youngster, who can also play in the midfield, drew praise from coach and former St Kilda player Raphael Clarke during a two-day induction in Perth before the squad departed.

Clarke said there was a lot of promise in the team, especially among the West Australians.

"Young Ah Chee definitely stands out and (Albany's Liam) Bennell," he said. "We have got a strong bit of talent coming through."

The other West Australians on the trip are Darnell Morrison (Lockridge), Elijah Howard (Waterford), Jayden Gerrand (Sinagra), Gary Scott (Geraldton), Neil Winmar (Maddington) and Russell Wynne (Mt Barker).

The youngsters were treated to a visit from West Coast stars Josh Hill and Nic Naitanui during their induction.

Meanwhile, the WA Football Commission yesterday announced the appointment of John Hancock as head coach of the State 16s talent academy for 2013.

The development coach has 16 years experience coaching young footballers.

He was the State 18s assistant coach last year and an assistant coach for the State 16s in 2010 and 2011.

Hancock's first duty in his new role will be next Saturday when the State Academy hosts a WA talent day in Joondalup.

An exhibition game at Arena Joondalup will showcase the talents of the top 50 WAFL colts players and is expected to draw keen interest from AFL recruiting managers.

Players will also be required to undertake medical screenings, AFL combine testing, skills testing, education sessions and AFL club interviews.

It would be good to follow in his footsteps and play AFL."Callum Ah Chee

The West Australian

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