Fresh from a maiden flag with Warrnambool's under 18.5 outfit on Saturday, Sam Niklaus is prepared for a new challenge which could further his football career.
The year 10 Warrnambool College student has accepted an academic scholarship to attend Xavier College in Melbourne as a boarder from next year.
Niklaus, 16, said any nerves he was feeling towards the move were overpowered with excitement.
"Obviously the opportunities, the experiences, meeting new people (will all be worthwhile)," he told The Standard.
"It's going to be an amazing experience for me."
Niklaus, who represented Vic Country's under 16 side this year and dreams of playing in the AFL, said academic opportunities at the school were equally appealing as football ones.
"My plan A is footy but obviously there's (only) a slight chance of that working out so academic (success) is pretty important for me as well," he said.
At Xavier, Niklaus will have the chance to represent the school in the highly regarded APS football competition while he is also hoping to play consistent Coates Talent League under 18 football.
The utility represented Greater Western Victoria Rebels in the under 16 competition this season but is looking to join a club like Oakleigh Chargers because of its closer proximity to his school.
Niklaus will still ply his trade with Warrnambool at club level and is looking forward to pulling on the navy blue jumper when his commitments allow.
He finished his campaign on a high note on Saturday, playing a key role in Warrnambool's three-point defeat of South Warrnambool in the decider.
"It was my first premiership, so it's always a good one. I'm pretty speechless about it," he said.
"...it means a lot to the club and to my family."
The flag capped a stellar year for the teenager that saw him make his senior Hampden league debut with the Blues. He played a further two games at the highest level.
He was also runner-up in the Judd Cup, the Hampden league's under 18.5 best and fairest, after playing just six home-and-away games.
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