Laguntas kicks off Sunday

The 2014 Laguntas Program kicks off this weekend at Punt Road Oval, looking to build on the momentum gained in last year’s highly successful first edition.

The philosophy behind the Laguntas Program was, and remains, a simple one.

Laguntas is designed to fill a void in the talent pathway for indigenous footballers (aged 16-19) and help them reach their potential in a tailored development program.

Supported by the AFL, the Korin Gomandji Institute (KGI) and AFL SportsReady, the 2014 Laguntas Program will see more than 40 boys attend three separate weekend camps to develop as off-field leaders, learn about their cultural heritage and to be mentored by respected role models on how to find success on and off the field.

They will have the opportunity to don the Laguntas jumper in practice games against other academies/talent programs in the broader AFL Victoria talent pathway, including the Vic Country U16 Squad this Sunday at 2:30pm at Punt Road Oval.

Former Brisbane Lions premiership hero Chris Johnson will again play a key role as head coach, while current AFL stars Neville Jetta (Melbourne) and Dustin Martin (Richmond) will act as mentors as part of their work with the KGI.  

AFL Victoria Indigenous Programs Manager Aaron Clark said the Program would hopefully act as a stepping stone for graduates of the U15 Kickstart Program for U15 indigenous footballers to the TAC Cup system.

“Ultimately the aim of Laguntas is to fill the void that has existed for indigenous for indigenous footballers at that age group.”

“More than 70 per cent of the kids who have been invited to this year’s first Laguntas Camp were members of our Kickstart Program over the past two years,” Clark said.

“We’re also inviting talented 18-year-olds who for whatever reason haven’t had the opportunity to get the most out of their football in the past.”

Clark said development opportunity for these boys went far beyond the football field.

“For most of these kids, as possibly the only indigenous player in their local team, or sometimes the only indigenous boy in their whole community, the chance to build a peer support network is invaluable.”

“The feedback we got from 2013 AFL draftees Jay Kennedy-Harris (Melbourne) and Jarman Impey (Port Adelaide) is that that having that peer support was significant in their journey to the AFL.

“Something that all these boys bring up, and it was no different for Jay and Jarman, was the social isolation they felt growing up as a young indigenous men.”

“The social challenges these boys face, the often challenging family situations and the racism they encounter are unique to indigenous Australians and having that peer network through our programs is significant.”

Clark said another key component of Laguntas was providing good mentors and role models, such as Johnson, who participants can learn from.

“Our programs have a strong leadership focus and we hope that guys like Kennedy-Harris who captained the Oakleigh Chargers in 2013 and Aaron Christensen who is Geelong Falcons captain this year have benefited from that development.”

Indigenous players already participating within a regional TAC Cup program will also have the opportunity to participate in the related off field development program associated with Laguntas over the 2014 season.

The 2014 Laguntas squad:

 

First Name

Surname

TAC Region

Marley

Edwards

Bendigo Pioneers

Ethan

Davies

Bendigo Pioneers

Tyrone

Mitchell

Bendigo Pioneers

Dylan

Burns

Bendigo Pioneers

Kayle

Kirby

Bendigo Pioneers

Arnold

Kirby

Bendigo Pioneers

Robert

Ahern

Calder Cannons

Aaron

Tatchell

Calder Cannons

Koolyn

Briggs

Calder Cannons

Mitchell

McCarthey

Dandenong Stingrays

Josh

Rich

Dandenong Stingrays

Izak

Maloney

Dandenong Stingrays

Triston

Tweedie

Eastern Ranges

Nelson

Aldridge

Eastern Ranges

Tyler

Tweedie

Eastern Ranges

Jarrod

Healy

Eastern Ranges

Aaron

Christensen

Geelong Falcons

Dylan

Bentley

Gippsland Power

Anthony

Young

Gippsland Power

Jai

Rout

Gippsland Power

Aaron

Edwards

Gippsland Power

Bohdi

Walker

Gippsland Power

Billy

Cooper

Murray Bushrangers

Jamarrah

Firebrace

Murray Bushrangers

Djye

Thorpe-Morgan

Murray Bushrangers

Sam

Drummond

Murray Bushrangers

Tyler

Cubby

Murray Bushrangers

Samual

Walsh - Bannam

North Ballarat Rebels

Dion

Johnstone

North Ballarat Rebels

Zach

McCleod

North Ballarat Rebels

William

Austin

North Ballarat Rebels

Dakin

Morris

North Ballarat Rebels

Jamaine

Jones

North Ballarat Rebels

Kyle

Thomas

Northern Knights

Jade

Gresham

Northern Knights

Jamie

Roman-Nelson

Northern Knights

Kain

Proctor

Northern Knights

Michael

Turner

Northern Knights

Jhdara

Matson - Jones

Oakleigh Chargers

Kade

Alexander

Sandringham Dragons

Athol

Jetta

Western Jets

Amon

Hudson

Western Jets




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