A TRIO of St Francis College students have proven they can match it with the best on the Australian Rules Football field.
“Mary has worked hard, so she should be congratulated on being named in the side."St Francis College PDHPE/sport co-ordinator Carl Norman
Mary Sandral, Sam Hopper and Isaac Williams were each selected to play at the recent National All Schools AFL carnival in Geelong.
The boys played in the under 15s side, while Mary was selected in the girls under 16s team.
Mary’s stand out performance throughout the carnival also led her to be named in the female All Australian team.
Earlier this year the trio played at a carnival in Sydney where they were then chosen to take part at the national level.
At the carnival, both the two boys and Mary played sides from across the country, including Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria and South Australia.
Sam said he used the opportunity to further broaden his skill base.
“I think it definitely helped me on the field, but also with my leadership skills,” he said.
“The quality of the competition was really good.
“I think we all learned a lot.”
St Francis College PDHPE/sport co-ordinator Carl Norman was impressed with the effort of the three players.
“It was great to have all three of them selected to take part at the carnival,” Norman said.
“As far as I’m aware it was the first time St Francis has had a female player selected in the All Australia side.
“Mary has worked hard, so she should be congratulated on being named in the side.
“We’re all very proud. It was a highly-competitive carnival and I know they all were able to get something out of it.”
For the boys, they follow in some big footsteps by taking part in the national carnival.
“In the past from the college we’ve had Jacob Hopper, who is likely to be picked up by an AFL club in this year’s draft take part, as well as Adam Schneider, who played for the Swans and now plays for St Kilda.
“So they are definitely in good company and it will no doubt help them in the future.”
Both Isaac and Sam would like to play professional AFL.
“It’s definitely something I would like to do,” Isaac said.
“I definitely got a lot out of the carnival. It was really good.
“It was good just to see the standard of other players and how we went against them.
“I thought we went quiet well.”
For Mary the experience was also interesting.
“I haven’t played at that level before,” she said.
“It was pretty quick and fast.
“For me it was good to meet new people. I just like playing footy.
“I like playing at a rep level. It’s also good to see the female sides getting more popular. That’s a good thing to happen for the sport.”
While Mary was named in the All Australian side, there is no further competition to take part in.
“It was nice to be named … I didn’t expect it,” she said.