Local talent in historic SANFL first

Two teenage talents from Broken Hill, Silas Torney and Hayden Whitford, both from the North Bulldogs and a member of the Norwood coaching staff, also from the Silver City, former West Robin Stuart Bown have been involved in the first ever round of SANFL Under-14s football.

Held on Friday, February 23 and Saturday, February 24, the inaugural round of this level of SANFL football adds a new, never before seen dimension to the SA state league program.

The eight SANFL clubs will play each other once across a seven-round season.

“There is a much sharper resolve to entrench the basics of Australian Football amongst all players as they begin their talent pathway in the nation’s strongest State League,” SANFL Head of Talent Brenton Phillips said.

“Coaches have been encouraged to use players in a series of different positions throughout the season, so they are exposed to multiple roles.

“The SANFL Under 14 competition will conclude by the weekend of Saturday April 13, ensuring the impact on metropolitan and country community clubs is minimised.”

Bown, who played four AFL games for the Crows in 2001, and 200 matches with Norwood over more than a decade of service in the SANFL, was a member of the Norwood coaching staff as the young Redlegs took on West Adelaide on Friday evening.

Before venturing down to Adelaide, at West Broken Hill Football Club he had already made his A Grade debut as a 15-year-old and played 49 games at the level.

Stuart’s son Loki Bown, who is a strong young athlete is a number of fields, didn’t play in the opening round, but is also expected to follow dad, and don a Norwood jumper during this program.

The young West Adelaide Bloods proved too powerful, having a handsome first up triumph under lights at The Parade.

North Adelaide took on Sturt in the final of the four-game opening series, at Barton Oval, but the Double Blues proved to be too strong in the end.

For the record, Central District at the Ponderosa, and Woodville West Torrens in the opening game on Saturday morning were the other two teams to enjoy first up wins.

SANFL Under 14 matches towards the end of the season will be played in conjunction with SANFL Under 16 and Under 18 games, giving players an insight where their pathway will lead once they compete in the Under 15 Intrastate Carnival the following year.

At the conclusion of the Under 14 season, each club coach will nominate six players to join either the Adelaide or Port Adelaide Next Generation Academy.

These 48 players (24 Crows and 24 Power) will then undertake an intensive four-week elite program, together with their coaches, in the lead up to an inaugural U14 NGA match being played in July.

PICTURE: Norwood coaching staff Stuart Bown, INSERT: Hayden Whitford. PETER ARGENT

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