The searing heat couldn’t dampen the action as the second day of National Youth Championships 2023 Boys’ action continued at Valentine Sports Park.
As both the Under-15 and Under-16 tournaments begin to take shape, front runners are starting to emerge while surprise packets are making a name for themselves. The decision was made to split the day into a morning and evening session as temperatures reached 36 degrees in Sydney’s west.
South Australia tops the Under-15 Group A, NSW Metro White tops Under-15 Group B, while in the Under-16 tournament, Victoria Blue leads Group A and NSW Metro White tops Group B.
The action will continue on Wednesday during what will be a crucial day for all teams, as they vie for group position with the Semi-Finals kicking off on Thursday.
Northern NSW building momentum
NNSWF Technical Director Ryan Doidge was impressed with NNSWF’s team efforts despite the hot conditions, with the sides picking up points from each of the two matches on Tuesday.
The under-15s team had a successful second day, picking up a win and a draw. Dash Baker, Matthew Homer, Logan Sambrook and Preston Ridd all got their names on the scoresheet after defeating Tasmania 5-0. In the next match-up, Ridd hit the back of the net again in the side’s 1-1 draw with Western Australia. The side is fourth on the table and will play the Northern Territory on day three.
The under-16s side dominated day two, defeating Tasmania 1-0 and Western Australia 3-1. Alexandro Nunes netted the single goal to put his side over the line against Tasmania. In the second match, Lucas Johnson scored one goal and Will Dobson scored a double to secure the victory against Western Australia. The team continues to sit third on the table and will hope to continue their winning ways when they face the Northern Territory on day three.
“I am really proud of the efforts of the attitudes of the players and coaches in displaying such enthusiasm and determination while playing in such tough, hot conditions,” Doidge said.
“The second game of the day was particularly hard for the players, as it was their fourth match in two days. The players had to make big physical and mental efforts, which they delivered on to get results.”
National Team Coaching Staff Watching Closely
Football Australia National Team coaching staff have been watching closely over the first two days with a coordinated team making sure every player goes through the talent identification process.
Football Australia Technical Director – Men’s and Head Coach of the Subway Young Socceroos, Trevor Morgan, said Football Australia National Youth Team coaching staff, Member Federation Technical Directors plus invited Association and Club Technical Directors have been working as a scouting unit to underpin the talent identification process at this year’s Championships.
With such a diverse range of players from across Australia, all boasting their own individual playing style and flair, Morgan, along with Subway Joeys’ Head Coach Brad Maloney, take all this into account while watching the matches.
“You want to see kids who are playing with confidence and people who are expressing themselves. A team that plays in a positive way because the Australian way is to go forward and attack,” Morgan said.
“We're looking for positive actions out of people, whether that's with the ball or without the ball. We want to make sure everybody gets a chance to experience the tournament and deal with the pressures of this sort of challenge.”
With three more days to go until the eventual winners are crowned, Morgan is excited to see if players and teams can maintain their form over the course of the tournament.
“There's been some games that have been tight and some stalemates,” Morgan said.
“There's certainly been lots of glimpses of young, talented footballers that we want to keep watching throughout the week and see how many really keep continuing to perform in this environment.”
Wellbeing in Focus
Getting the best out of players doesn’t just require specific training plans and high-protein diets, it also requires support away from the pitch and looking after your mental wellbeing.
To ensure all clubs receive the best possible support throughout the National Youth Championships, Football Australia’s National Male Wellbeing Manager, Chris Lynch, has been in attendance offering his services to all Member Federations.
“The first the phase before the Joeys and Olyroos is the National Youth Championships. So, the focus for me here is supporting the Member Federations and finding out what they're doing from a wellbeing perspective,” Lynch said.
“I share some of the good practises and then look at where we can actually add value and support what wellbeing looks like at each phase of the pathway.
“I also get a chance to see the current generation of Joeys who are in attendance. It gives me a chance to reconnect with them and their parents who are here.
“It's a chance to check in on how they went with their exams and build those relationships because they're the next generation of professional footballers, and if we're embedding the support at that age, then they will continue to engage in it as they progress in football.”
Due to unforeseen technical issues, the competition website is not displaying the correct ladder and results information. A resolution for this is currently being worked on. Live and up to date ladder information is available via the Gameday App by completing the steps outlined HERE.
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