Centre State Exports in conjunction with the Adelaide Football Club recently held their annual Crows Country Kids Clinic.
Twenty regional football clubs from across the state were invited to nominate their best 13- or 14-year-old to spend a ‘training day’ with the Adelaide Crows.
The clinic was held while the Crows conducted their final training ‘captain’s run’ on Adelaide Oval on July 20 before the Crows’ top of the table clash with Geelong.
2017 marks the third successive running of the clinic and over the three years, more than 50 different SA country football clubs have participated.
“This year there were three clubs invited from the Mid North region – BSR, Mintaro Manoora and Orroroo,” Centre State Exports grower service manager Paul Lange said.
“Quite often some of the smaller regional communities are easily overlooked.
“Through our farming links to these communities we are able to provide them the opportunity to attend that they might not otherwise get.”
Jack Weckert (BSR), Caleb Schwartz (Mintaro Manoora) and Will Bowman (Orroroo) were the talented young players nominated by their clubs.
The football department for Adelaide Crows developed a program that gives the young footballers an understanding of what is required and how they can give themselves the best possible chance to play AFL football.
The clinic was held at Adelaide Oval, which enabled access to some of the key coaching, recruiting and training staff of the Adelaide Football Club including assistant coach Matthew Clarke, head of football Brett Burton and player education and academy coordinator Jarrod Meers.
“The message we want the kids to take with them is to just enjoy their footy no matter what level they end up playing,” Meers said.
“It’s important to let the kids know that not everyone makes it to the highest level but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t set their goals high in all facets of life, not just footy.”
The highlight of the day for many of the boys was the one-on-one time spent with SA’s very own ‘country boy’ and Crows ruckman Sam Jacobs.
Sam gave the boys some real insight into the hard work, dedication and sacrifice required to make it in the AFL.
The boys also had the chance to stretch their legs and were put through a training session with development coach Paul Thomas and physical performance analyst Jarryd Wallace.
The day was finalised with a guided tour of change rooms and team facilities at Adelaide Oval.
“A significant number of AFL players are from regional and rural communities, we have several key players that are country boys,” Wallace said.
“It’s rare for us to be able to work with country kids of this age, without local businesses like Centre State Exports to create that opportunity this kind of program simply wouldn’t happen.”