SOUTH Gippsland Secondary College Year 9 student and Foster footballer Xavier Duursma has had a week to remember.
Xavier was selected to play Australian Rules football for Victoria in the Under 15 team in the School Sport Australia National Championships. The carnival took place last week in Geelong. After five games in seven days, the team played off in the Grand Final on Saturday against a big and strong Western Australian team that had defeated them in the pool matches by two points with the last kick of the day.
Adding to the degree of difficulty the grand final was held on a particularly windy day. Xavier was given the job of playing on one of WA’s best, Ian Hill, cousin of current AFL stars Stephen and Bradley Hill who play for Hawthorn and Fremantle. Hill had been dynamic through the pool matches and was a key to their success. Xavier matched up on Hill on the wing and was determined and disciplined throughout the game. He had around 13 disposals himself and kept Hill to a solitary kick until three quarter time when Hill was benched. Xavier received accolades from the coaches for his effort.
The Victorian boys played a fast, professional style of football that was too slick for the WA players and eventually ran out winners by 65 points. This was a vast improvement from the previous game. Xavier identified the mateship with the whole team as a highlight of the week.
Xavier played with great consistency throughout the week and was labelled “Mr Reliable” by Terry Plozza (former Vic Under 12 team manager and Melbourne Football Club recruiter).
Xavier had a terrific national carnival. As well as winning the championship with his team, he was named in the All-Australian team to travel to South Africa during January 2016. He is very excited to be given this opportunity, commenting: “I feel very lucky to be chosen. I’m so happy and proud to represent Australia.”