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  • Writer's pictureQBN Tigers Club

Shock to the system for Northern Territory recruits

This season the Tigers have built a strong connection with Northern Territory football. For some of the players involved in the building of that relationship our local weather has been a bit of a cold shock to the system.

At the end of 2015 we appointed Chris Clifton as Rising Stars coach. A chance meeting at a national schoolboys carnival discovered that Chris was relocating from Darwin to the Queanbeyan area and was looking to continue his development as a coach. He was involved at that stage with Tracy Village Football Club, and both the NT schoolboys and NT Thunder Academy programs.

After being appointed, Chris used his contacts during the most recent local off-season to provide one of our 2016 Rising Stars, Kodi Stevens, with a life experience by spending a few weeks in the top end on exchange at Tracy Village where he boarded and worked with club administrators and got to experience a few matches of NT football.

Since that first exchange, we have had several other NT players join us this year.

Zack Derksen, son of Mark Derksen – a 200 game player and current assistant coach at Nightcliff Tigers – joined us full time. Zack moved to the area to be closer to family and provide support for his girlfriend Abby Cubillo, a talented basketballer on scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sport. Some mutual friends put us in contact with Zack and he joined us when his NT playing commitments concluded.

Recently the relationship has been further strengthened with two young NT players joining our Rising Stars playing group on permit to experience AFL Canberra football – and a Canberra winter!

Bayden Lane, a hard-nosed inside midfielder arrived first and quickly endeared himself to the playing group and support staff.

Soon after, Byron Mayo, a small forward, joined him despite the warnings from Bayden about the cold weather and the two have been inseparable ever since – living with coach Chris Clifton and his family. Bayden and Byron have been working together to pay their way. They are the first to arrive at training every night and recently had the opportunity to experience snow for the first time in their lives. They are seen in the picture along with Chris’s son Tobey, trying to show that the cold hasn’t been affecting them.

This weekend we bid farewell to Bayden and Byron, known affectionately as B1 and B2, but we hope to see them back soon. We hope they’ve enjoyed the experience.

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