Four-straight weeks of strong performances stand between Port Macquarie teenager Will Kelly and a potential spot in the Sydney Swans' under-17 squad for the 2022 AFL season.
This weekend, Kelly will head to Tramway Oval - a stone's throw from the SCG - for four weekend's worth of high-intensity footy where he will compete against some of the best players in his age group from around New South Wales.
The Port Macquarie Magpies junior concedes it will be a challenge to make the squad, but it's one he looks forward to.
Having it over four-straight weekends will be a challenge, but it's what you need to do.- Will Kelly
"Some boys in Sydney are training in groups of four to six whereas I'm training and running by myself most of the time so you're not being pushed by others which can be difficult," he said.
"But I've been training ever since our AFL season ended back in September so have been doing three runs a week and weights sessions all leading up to the coming few weeks."
It means four-straight Fridays await where he is picked up from school for the drive south.
"Having it over four-straight weekends will be a challenge, but it's what you need to do," he said.
"I'm confident, but you've also got to stay humble."
In preparation for his quest to make the under-17 Swans squad, father Troy said his son had played all the AFL North Coast season with the Magpies' senior squad.
That came on the back of a recommendation from the Swans' academy head coach.
"It was just to get him playing against the bigger bodies, but it is going to be very challenging to make it from a regional area, but he's done very well to get this far," Mr Kelly said.
It was just to get him playing against the bigger bodies, but it is going to be very challenging to make it from a regional area, but he's done very well to get this far.- Troy Kelly
Even if the 16-year-old doesn't make the final cut, there will be other pathways for him to explore on the road to a dream of playing in the AFL.
"It'd be a nice Christmas present, but we're realistic and there's other pathways to get into an AFL club, so this isn't the be-all and end-all," Mr Kelly said.
"We've realised that with one of William's mates Samson Ryan who was drafted by Richmond and played one senior game this season."
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