In the words of Glenn Frey from the Eagles – the heat is on.
The Northern Heat representative AFL program made a return on November 4 after several years in hiatus, comprising the best under-17 players from the North Coast, North West and Northern Rivers regions.
Port Macquarie Magpies teenager Marraki Kilpatrick will fly the flag for the locals in the program.
The program exists to extend the representative pathway for the players of the three regions and provide them with a further avenue to build their game ahead of making the full time transition into senior footy.
Coach Matt Anderson said the effort at the first outing was very impressive.
"We know from data out of national championships that individual players average around four minutes in possession of the ball across an eighty minute match,” he said.
“The rest of the time they have to be able to run, shepherd, tackle, communicate, and support their team mates so our session focused on what needs to be done when we don't have the ball."
"With fantastic support from SCU Sport Science staff we were able to use GPS units to measure the boys efforts which showed that across our session the players ran up to eight kilometres at a maximum speed of 34 kilometres an hour.
“This is comparable to the efforts of players at national championships and highlights the fact that our players have the capacity to go further in our game."
The next session for the players is in Armidale on November 24.
The program continues into 2019 and will culminate with a match against a team from the Gold Coast.