The Centralian advocate Fri 20 Jun 2014
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52 SPORT FRIDAY JUNE 20 2014 CAVE01Z01MA - V1 Future stars get chance to shine at national championships NT Under-18s pair Michaelis McMasters (South) and Abraham Ankers (Federal) warm up at Thunder training during the week ahead of this weekends clash with NSW/ACT in Blacktown Picture: JORDAN McARDLE Michael Tilmouth-Turner WHAT started as a holiday ended in Michael TilmouthTurners selection in the NT side for the NAB AFL under-18s championships. Former Pioneer and Bradshaw Bulldogs junior Tilmouth-Turner, now based in Melbourne, attended Thunder training while visiting Alice Springs in January to catch up with a few friends. The exciting key position player then caught the eye of NT Thunder south development manager Stan Coombe, and the rest is history. I played a trial game for Vic Metro last year but didnt really get a look-in, he said. Coming back to Alice to try out with the NT Thunder was good, but it certainly wasnt a plan. I was just coming back for a holiday and to get my licence. A few friends asked me to go to Thunder training so I went not expecting anything, I didnt even have my footy boots with me, only runners. So when they asked if I wanted to play under-18s I jumped at the opportunity. It has been an impressive season for the 17-year-old, despite missing the cut for TAC Cup Northern Knights after playing four games for them in 2013. The 191cm talent was part of the Footy Means Business program and has been a regular feature in West Preston-Lakesides Northern Football League senior campaign, playing six matches and being named in his sides best twice. The son of multiple Pioneer CAFL premiership player Craig Turner left Alice Springs about five years ago but said he was still an Alice Springs boy at heart. He looks up to ex-Melbourne Demon and fellow Territorian Aaron Davey. Hes a good bloke and really looks after the young Indigenous footballers, he said. I spent a lot of time with him during the Footy Means Business program, which was a great experience. I got to meet a lot of Indigenous players from around Australia, meeting a heaps of AFL players was a massive bonus and seeing how they go about it all. Michaelis McMasters THERE are few players in Central Australia more exciting than South speedster Michaelis McMasters. The promising midfielder is never far away from the action and has been a vital cog in the Kangaroos unbeaten start to the CAFL season. He earned an NT Thunder rookie contract after a break out season in 2013 at both senior CAFL level and for NT under-16s, with an under-18s berth always on the horizon. I cant wait to get out there and give it my all, McMasters said. McMasters described the national under-18s carnival as the biggest honour of his emerging career and said while he would be nervous heading into the it, he wouldnt let that get to him. Ive just got concentrate on my own game and not worry about whats going on around me with talent scouts and everything, he said. The 16-year-old said he admires South team mate and two-time Minahan medallist Charlie Maher, who he models his game on. Charlie has been a great mentor for me, he said. Hes a great player and I look up to him. All indications are that McMasters isnt far away from a senior debut at the Thunder. Stan (Coombe) tells me that Im getting closer, he said. I would love to play against Aspley when its in Alice Springs. Maher couldnt speak highly enough of McMasters and believes the skys the limit for his prodigy. Im really happy for him and hes got a very bright future ahead of him, he said. Hes a level-headed young man and hes always will to learn and get better. He loves being around the club and hes just fantastic for us. The pair went head-to-head during a 3km time trial over the preseason, with former Indigenous Marathon Project member Maher just seven second ahead of McMasters. Hes getting faster and Im slowing down a bit, Maher said. Errin Wasley-Black Michael Tilmouth-Turner Errin Wasley-BlackAS FAR as Centralian draftprospects go, Errin Wasley-Black is up there with the best. The former Rovers de fender narrowly missed out on his AFL dreams last year after being overlooked, but the wellspoken teenager has turn a negative into a positive and has given himself the best chance of getting picked up in 2014. A regular fixture of the Thunders defence throughout this year, Wasley-Black has played in all 11 of his sides matches this season and he has been named in their best four times. The 19-year-old said his third and final carnival was all about enjoying his football with his mates, who he has shared plenty of good times with during his junior days. Hopefully we can get a few wins, especially after not winning a game last year, he said. We can only go up from last year and I think things are coming along a lot better. Just going over the squad, its looking really exciting. I see it as a great opportunity to have fun out there with my mates, while also getting a bit of exposure. Compared to last year, Wasley-Black feels that he is a lot stronger and generally a much improved player. Wasley-Black is hopeful of playing across the half-back flank, as he does for the Thunder seniors. Last years Under-18s captain and former AIS-AFL Academy graduate said he wanted to bring some extra leadership to the side after learning from some of the Territorys best in the NEAFL Ill take back what Ive learned from senior footy and hopefully Ill bring a bit of leadership down and it rubs off on to the rest of the group, he said. It has already been a season to remember for the Centralian-bred talent, who was honoured with a NEAFL Rising Star nomination in round one against Greater Western Sydney Giants reserves and was selected in the leagues initial representative squad to face the WAFL before missing the final cut. I think Ive just really enjoyed playing with the more senior people around the club because theyve given me a bit of support and helped me understand my role, he said. The Rising Star nomination was a great recognition of all the hard work Ive put in over the pre-season. To get it against an AFL reserves team was a massive honour for myself. CENTRALIAN Advocate sports editor Jordan McArdle chats with the five Alice Springs talents who will feature for the Northern Territory in this years NAB AFL Under-18s Championhips....
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