Healesville juniors compete in the Talent League

Five players from Healesville JFC have been picked to represent Eastern Ranges. Picture: HEAELISVLLE JUNIOR FOOTBALL CLUB INC FACEBOOK

By Dongyun Kwon

Five players from Healesville Junior Football Club (JFC) have been picked to represent Eastern Ranges to compete in the Talent League, the Victorian statewide under-18s competition.

Cody and Ishka-Belle have been involved in Eastern Ranges for a couple of years but this is the first year for Jeremy, Paisley and Brylee because of the age bracket although they’re all experienced in different levels of elite football.

Jeremy, a 183 cm and 70 kg player, plays halfback wing for Eastern Ranges and midfield for Healesville JFC.

Jeremy said picking up by the Eastern Ranges is the pathway to reach his dream.

“It has always been a dream to make the AFL and that [Eastern Ranges] is the pathway,” he said.

“I was very happy when I got my first email, I was like I couldn’t wait to put on the jumper.

“My goal this year is to play heaps of games and get scouts to have a look at me.”

He said he finds the training “good”.

“I struggled to start with training three days a week for a long amount of time,” he said.

“It’s hard to train at such a high intensity all the time when there is no game that following week, a bit hard to stay motivated which was something that I lacked but I know now that I’m going forward.

“It’s good because all the kids there are friendly and everyone’s putting their best foot forward to get better for the same goal of getting drafted.”

Jeremy said the most noticeable difference between Healesville JFC and Easter Ranges are the standard of the kids and the hunger to get better from the players.

“My age group has always been pretty strong and we’ve all worked hard with each other during training,” he said.

“We have a good community but I feel like Ranges has a better community on the overlap just like all between us. We’re all passionate about it and we’re all doing it for a cause instead of just playing for fun.

“Heaps of boys hang around each other at school and the environment is pretty good on the field and off the field. I feel like we’re gonna have a good year.”

The 17-year-old player got into footy naturally in family and school and joined the Healesville JFC about seven years ago, which is his first football club.

“The best memory I have within the club [Healesville JFC] would be the under 15’s grand final,” Jeremy said.

“We lost two grand finals that we probably should have won [in the past].

“We were down at the three-quarter time and I was thinking to myself I might lose against this team and we ended up winning by 4 points. We were so happy to finally win and get the final hurdle done.”

Ishaka-Belle, a 17-year-old girl, and Paisley, a 15-year-old girl, are sisters and both have gotten into footy through their dad.

They used to kick the footy with their dad in the front yard at a young age and played it with their friends in primary school.

Ishie and Paisley said both of them were very excited but also a little bit nervous when they were picked by the Eastern Ranges.

“The Ranges team is really fun because we can play with a bunch of girls with a great level of skills,” Ishie said.

“I want to debut and get a few games this year.

“I’ll gain as much feedback as possible to improve my footy skills and want to make lifelong friends.”

“I’ll try to get as much out of it as I can to become more skilled and I also want to make some new friendships along the way,” Paisley said.

Ishie, at 172 cm and 72 kg, plays for both forward and midfield while her sister Paisley, at 164 cm and 58 kg, plays for only midfield.

Healesville JFC president Zach Coleman said it’s an amazing achievement to have five individuals represented.

“I’m very proud of the kids and what they’ve achieved over their journey,” he said.

“I look forward to what they can deliver at the elite stage and what opportunities are present over the next few years.

“Fingers crossed that Cody and Ishka-Belle have a good year and they will get noticed by some talent scouts and get drafted.”