JARROD Korewha’s hopes of becoming an AFL player are about to be turbocharged.
The Koroit teenager is one of 25 juniors chosen in the AFL Academy, a program which grooms youngsters for careers at the highest level.
Jarrod, who represented Victoria Country at the national under 16 championships earlier this year, was lost for words when North Ballarat Rebels talent manager Phil Partington called.
“Parto rang me after school and said to me ‘I’ve got some news that will change your life’,” he said.
“I was thinking hopefully it’s something pretty good … it turned out to be pretty good.
“It still hasn’t kicked in that I’m in it. It won’t until we get right into it. I’m pretty honoured.”
Jarrod finds out more about the academy in Melbourne tomorrow. He knows those lucky enough to be included in it have an increased chance of being drafted.
“My whole life, since I was eight, all I have wanted to do is play AFL,” he said.
“Since then I’ve tried to dedicate my life to trying to get there and do what I can to get there. This is a good step.”
The 16-year-old’s dedication to his sport is unwavering.
In a bid to learn more about the game, he became a water boy for Koroit in 2012. Every match he would run drinks to the players in each of the under 18s, reserves and senior matches and then play under 16s the following day. His elevation to the under 18½s this season, plus two senior matches, ended his days as a water carrier.
“I got to watch the game pretty closely from on the ground,” he said.
That learning will be ramped up with the AFL Academy.
He will be exposed to specialist training, experience life at AFL clubs and in April next year attend a training camp in New Zealand where he will play in a curtain-raiser match to the Anzac Day clash involving St Kilda.
Jarrod, whose father is from New Zealand, is a St Kilda fan.
Greater Western Sydney Giants’ Dartmoor recruit Jeremy Cameron and Terang Mortlake’s Lewis Taylor, now at Brisbane, were members of the academy before being drafted.
Jarrod is keen to further his football education this season with Koroit. After making his senior debut against North Warrnambool Eagles in round 14, he played against Warrnambool in round 15 before returning to the under 18½s last Saturday.
“I want to try and keep my spot but obviously the seniors is a pretty good team,” he said.
Partington said Jarrod’s effort to make the Vic Country under 16 team and play well at the national championships had been significant, let alone win selection in the AFL Academy.
“It’s a great achievement,” he said.
“It doesn’t guarantee a boy will get drafted but it gives them a very good grounding. The AFL is trying to give these kids the tools to make it to the AFL.”
Partington said Jarrod was expected to be part of the Rebels’ under 18 TAC Cup squad next year.