Healesville boy gets into VFL

Nyko at Essendon's training. Picture: ESSENDON FC

By Dongyun Kwon

Healesville based football player made one big step forward to reach his dream to be an AFL player.

Former Healesville Junior Football Club (JFC) player Cam Nyko has gotten into Essendon Football Club’s VFL 2024 playing list.

Healesville JFC president Zach Coleman said he was wrapped when he heard about it.

“It’s an amazing reward for Cam’s hard work,” he said.

“He is a very smart and responsible footy player, uses the ball exceptionally well with good vision. He can see what’s going to happen, two or three moves ahead.”

Nyko’s passion for footy started from his first footy game in 2010 when he filled in for his brother’s footy team when he was five.

After he moved to Healesville from Queensland when he was six, he joined Healesville JFC to learn basic skills and team play.

Nyko said winning the Under 12 premiership is one of the special moments he remembers out of his 10 years of experience within the club.

“In 2017, we won many games and went undefeated,” he said.

“The reason why we won the premiership in that year was because we were all pretty close to one another and everyone was friends in that team.

“It reflected on our team camaraderie and we could perform well as one team in the games.”

The 19-year-old player, at 180 centimetres tall and 80 kilograms, plays half back wing and midfield.

Nyko had to get through some frustrated moments when he failed to get drafted by any VFL clubs in 2023 and during the 2024 preseason, North Melbourne’s VFL Club didn’t offer him a contract.

Despite the frustration, he didn’t give up his dream, rather, he tried harder to get closer to his dream.

“I had to find another VFL team and my manager was ringing around a lot of VFL clubs asking if I could come train and then Essendon said yes and they offered me a contact about a week later after chatting,” Nyko said.

Essendon’s VFL Senior Coach Blake Caracella said Nyko joined the club through Essendon’s recruiting network.

“Cam has been on a modified training schedule with us over the last month in his rehabilitation from a shoulder injury,” he said.

“He has shown a strong appetite to work and has a real creative flair to his game, which will add to the excitement of our young team this year.

“We look forward to Cam returning to full training and games in the near future.”

Nyko has been training with Essendon every Monday and Wednesday since the middle of February.

“I like the training a lot, the facilities are really good and all the players are really nice,” Nyko said.

“I get there at about 4.30pm on the training day. We do team training and do a gym after training and I leave Essedon at about nine o’clock and then get home at about 10 o’clock.

“We’ve been playing practice matches on Fridays but I’m not able to play in the practice matches because I’m injured right now and still doing rehab.”

Nyko had to get surgery on both his shoulders after he dislocated them and is at the end of the rehab process.

He will be able to return to the field in two or three weeks.

The young talented player said he wants to go to the next level.

“VFL contract is definitely not satisfied with. I hopefully will be an AFL player one day,” the 19-year-old player said.

Mr Coleman said Healesville JFC is wishing nothing but success for the next chapter of Nyko’s football journey.

“He is a really good kid and across his generation, so he’s got mates across the 18-year-old group all the way through down to 15-year-old players,” he said.

“He took almost a mentor type role, imported some knowledge and experience across different levels. So, from a football club perspective, we’d love to have him around the club.

“We all want to see him at the AFL level soon.”