Rising footy stars get tips from the top

SOUTH-West teenagers Nick Bourke and Lewis Taylor want to be AFL footballers.

The highly rated Geelong Falcons pair now have a better understanding of what to expect if their sporting dreams come true in November.

Bourke, 17, and Taylor, 17, spent last week at Richmond and Melbourne respectively, a benefit of the prestigious AIS-AFL Academy of which they are a part.

The close friends watched and learnt from the country’s footballing elite — how to prepare, how to train, what to eat.

For Bourke, a Kolora-Noorat premiership player, it was the chance to watch his beloved Tigers up close. 

“Trent Cotchin at the start showed me around and I followed him at training and Steve Morris as well,” he said.

Bourke, who stayed with cousins in Melbourne, said Richmond officials pointed out areas the midfielder-forward needed to improve.

“A lot of kids don’t get the chance to have people from the top telling them where to get better,” he said.

Bourke had a solid TAC Cup debut season with the Falcons in 2012, earning Vic Country honours and playing in the AFL under 18 national championships as a bottom-age player. Training at an AFL club has spurred him on. Bourke has completed his VCE and will put more focus on training in between work on his family’s Noorat farm this season. “I was saying to Lewy Taylor before how good it is and how much it makes you want to get there,” Bourke said. 

Taylor, a speedy Terang Mortlake midfielder with an uncanny goal sense, relished the AFL environment.

“I had an unreal week,” he said. “I stayed with Jordie McKenzie and Jeremy Howe. Jordie is a Terang boy and it was good to see how an actual AFL player goes about it and what the lifestyle is like.”

Taylor said he did skill sessions and mini practice games at the Demons.

“Training was a step up so that was the hardest,” he said. “I am pretty sore at the moment.

“I didn’t know any of the structures when we were doing game drills but I managed to get a couple of cheap kicks.”

Taylor moved to Torquay a month ago and believes the shift will help him make the most of his final TAC Cup season.

He had an impressive 2012, shining for Vic Country at the under 18 national championships.

Geelong Falcons resume pre-season training today.

Bourke and Taylor will travel to Europe with the AIS-AFL Academy at the end of March.

justine.mc@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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