Locals ready to perform
North Coast will be heavily represented in the upcoming Under 18 State Zone Trials next week in Coffs Harbour.
The Trials will be held at BCU International Stadium for the third consecutive year, with quality facilities and hospitality a feature of the carnival in previous years.
Starting Tuesday and finishing on Thursday, the carnival will feature North Coast talent in a variety of disciplines.
Thomas Haskew: The tallest player in the Heat squad at 195cm, Haskew has endured a cruel few years with substantial injuries to his arms and legs. An athletic build, Haskew will be a key position player and will see plenty of the action. A dark horse for further representative honours given recruiters and selectors preference for players of his mould.
Simon Taylor: An under-age player, Taylor may find it tough against more experienced competition this year but has moulded his career to date as a endurance midfielder. An elite runner, he will try and find success running his opponents around. He is well prepared having represented the state in matches for the Under 16 Rams side.
Jack Gillingham: Like Taylor, was a state representative, and made the National Championships squad. Benefitted from a strong pre-season last year and played his best year of footy to date. Is also in the developing stage but has good all-round attributes and will should perform well in the carnival, given the opportunity.
Hamish Pearce: Most experienced at representative level of the Coastal kids, Pearce has an impressive resume, representing the North Coast at an Under 18 and Senior level. Played for Swans Reserves and is forming a reputation as a tough midfielder in the Senior competition- an advantage over most the other players. Needs to perform better this year and find the ball on the expansive BCU Stadium.
Michael Hendry: Played in the carnival last year but hasn't played too much since, yet his skills are such that he gets another opportunity for the Heat side. An all-round sportsman, these attributes might suit him. His physicality will see him match it with the opposition. Best position is on the half-back flank.
Shane Adams: Lucky to get an opportunity after not originally making the squad. Needs to work hard to get the results. His natural talent is there to see as a tall player who prefers the goals. Needs to find the ball to catch the eyes of the selectors. Should perform well if this happens, as his skills are of a high standard.
Northern Heat Assistant Coach
Sam Dawes: Dawes was the League Senior Best and Fairest and is a highly respected player on the North Coast with the Kangaroos. Has been working with Dave Croxton in preparing the young North Coast satellite squad and selected players preparing for the carnival. His football experience and knowledge gained from playing in Victoria will help breed a culture of success much needed in the Heat ranks.
Mitchell Turner: Turner continues North Coast's proud tradition of producing quality umpires. For the last three years, a North Coast umpire has officiated in the carnival. Mitchell umpired the Under 16 and Reserves Grand Final in 2008 and will push for a senior appointment this season. Was a participant of the Umpires' Development Academy and will be one of the leading umpires in the carnival. His fitness and adjudication skills are assets which has gained the respect of players on the North Coast.