Talented teens hone skills in South Africa
Talented teens hone skills in South Africa

They have been labelled one of the most talented groups in years and are prepared to do anything to achieve their AFL dream.

Six West Australian teenagers flew to South Africa on Monday night as part of this year's 25-strong Australian Schoolboys team tour.

Such was Alex Di Placido's commitment to make the squad, that he stripped a heap of weight to make the cut despite being just 15. Coach Ray Barrett said the Noranda teenager's efforts summed up the mentality of an under-age group he rated among the best he had seen in 20 years.

"He got the word that he was probably not covering enough ground at the national carnival," Barrett said.

"He's come here and lost probably seven or eight kilos. He's worked hard on his running and worked hard on his diet.

"He's actually contacted dieticians to make sure he gets it right. It just goes to show the level of commitment so early in their career."

Squad members completed a series of agility and endurance tests at Edith Cowan University to replicate draft camp conditions during a two-day training stint in Perth this week.

Two players came within 1cm of the 81cm vertical jump draft record set by Gold Coast key forward Sam Day in a sign of the group's impressive results.

The team, made up of 15 and 16-year-olds, was also given advice on the recipe for success in reaching the AFL by Fremantle midfielder Tendai Mzungu as part of tours of Fremantle and West Coast's facilities.

Vice-captain Michael Humble said the example of Mzungu, who broke into AFL ranks at the age of 25, had shown anyone could make it.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West