WINNING TEAM: North Queensland went through undefeated at the Gold Coast Suns under-16 zone academy trials at Oakes Oval, Lismore yesterday.
WINNING TEAM: North Queensland went through undefeated at the Gold Coast Suns under-16 zone academy trials at Oakes Oval, Lismore yesterday. Mitchell Craig

Sun is shining on Gold Coast academy

NORTH Queensland went through undefeated at the Gold Coast Suns Aussie Rules under-16 academy zone trials at Oakes Oval, Lismore.

They were one of four teams competing and finished with a 8.2 (50) to 3.4 (22) over Gold Coast Elite in the final game today.

A second Gold Coast side also competed along with a team made up of players from the South Pacific region.

Lismore Swans Juniors hosts GC Suns Academy:
Lismore Swans Juniors hosts GC Suns Academy:

Lismore's Charlie Blok was one of a handful of Northern Rivers players competing in the Gold Coast teams.

"All the teams have been in a camp and we came together to put on a footy carnival as a selection trial,” Suns academy development coach Sam Iles said. "We had high hopes for the North Queensland team and we knew there was plenty of talent in the squad.

"They've really gelled together and they come from far and wide. One of our hubs is in Cairns and we go all the way up to the tip at Cape York with Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton.

"Both Gold Coast teams have trained together since November as a squad of about 80. We trimmed that down to squads of 23 and the goal is to come to Lismore and make our next team.”

A final Gold Coast academy team will be selected Friday to play two games against the Brisbane Lions team later this month.

It serves as another selection trial for the Queensland team to play in the AFL U16 national championships.

"Lismore has been good to us, the facilities are great and the town has really welcomed us,” Iles said.

"People around town have commented on how polite the kids have been and that's part of what we're trying to do.

"To have a camp for five days takes players out of their comfort zone and it's a great chance to learn more from their coaches and each other.”