This article originally appeared at http://www.bdafl.com.au
Cardiff youngster, Damon Rowett has been selected to represent NSW at the AFL Inclusion Carnival which will be held in Melbourne, 8-15 August 2016.
The AFL National Inclusion Carnival is a week-long competition for footballers with an intellectual disability aged 16 years and over to compete for their State in a National Championships. The States/Teams competing in 2016 haven’t been confirmed as yet, but may include South Australia, Victoria Metro, Victoria Country, New South Wales, Queensland, and Tasmania.
16 year old, Rowett is in his first year of senior football playing for the Cardiff Hawks 1st Division side after progressing from the junior club where he commenced playing as a 9 year old.
Damon was selected in the squad after trials were held last Saturday at the GWS Giants training facility at Homebush, which was extremely well attended which made competition for spots very intense.
Damon’s’s father, Peter paid tribute to the Cardiff Hawks for his son’s selection and also believes NSW will field a strong side.
“Due to the incredible coaching and support Damon has received over the years at Cardiff Hawks, he was able to display a wide range of football skills at the trials which earned him selection in the team” Peter said.
“Another trial was set for last Sunday for players from the Riverina district, and with the background of footy from that region NSW should be able to put together a highly competitive team” he added.
Along with playing in the carnival, teams will also get the opportunity to attend two AFL matches and have the opportunity to play McDonald’s AFL 9s on the hallowed turf of the MCG. Players may also have the opportunity to participate in AFL clinics with schools around Melbourne.
This opportunity for Damon to compete in a national AFL competition came about due to his participation in an “All Abilities” cricket team which is associated with Hunter Valley Special Olympics. Both these organisations offer pathways for athletes with special needs to compete on a national and international stage in their chosen sports.
Peter is pleased that Damon has the opportunity to represent at his chosen sports.
“We are extremely grateful that the AFL has recognised a place for athletes like Damon to be able to compete on a national level in our great game. As I mentioned earlier, Victoria has two teams in this year’s carnival, and who knows, maybe in the future we might see a NSW Metro and a NSW Country team in the AFL Inclusion Carnival” Peter said.
“Whatever happens, this is a great thing for the Newcastle and Central Coast competitions and I believe there is an opportunity now to consider where and how we can continue to foster the inclusion of players with varying abilities into our game” he added.