FROM little things big things grow - it's something the Bathurst Giants AFL Club has proved since its inception and if season 2022 is any indication, more big things lie ahead.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
After starting life as a junior club in the AFL Central West, the Giants have grown to now have three senior outfits.
But there is still a strong focus on developing junior talent and it is one that keeps paying off.
This season junior Giants players won league best and fairest awards in the under 12s and under 14s thanks to Connor Hobby and Riley Goodsell, while under 17s mentor Brad Broes was named the league's junior coach of the year.
Giants president Kathy Sloan says it not only adds to what has been a big season in 2022 for the club, but bodes well for the future.
"I think we had three best and fairests two years ago, two last year and two this year, so the pipeline of juniors are amazing coming through," she said.
"We had a fantastic year actually, so we're really happy. We had six out of seven teams in the finals, which is amazing, and four in grand finals and two premiers.
"Everyone put in, you can't ask for any more than that really."
Sloan praised both Hobby (under 12s) and Goodsell (under 14s) for their "tremendous seasons".
As well as being talented footballers, the president pointed out their work ethic and leadership makes them valuable Giants as well.
"Both Connor and Riley made the regional talent team in the Giants Academy, they're both talented and really good kids," she said.
"Connor is now top age 12s and he's already reached 50 games, he's been around forever.
"He dominated the 12s, we had a very young and inexperienced team and he was a just a great leader to those kids. He also played every game of 14s.
"Look credit to him, his friends are all in the 14s but he trained every week with the 12s and got around that 12s team.
"Riley, he's super tall, he's bottom age in that 14s so he's got a lot of developing to do, but he wins the rucks and takes the really important marks around the ground.
"He is just a super talented that kid, he works really hard, attends training every week, what more can you ask for?"
While the best and fairest awards were determined by a weekly vote, Broes was nominated by the Giants for the junior coaching award.
In determining the winner, league officials took more than just the record of their respective teams into consideration.
Broes ticked all the boxes as he not only guided his under 17s to a premiership, but fostered a brilliant camaraderie within the playing group.
It's an environment he's created not just this season, but over the past four years he has coached as well.
"That 17s team, I think we had four kids left after last year and we were like 'Are we going to get a team?'. We had a heap of kids coming up from 14s but they were all bottom age," Sloan said.
"But he's done it again, he's recruited, he's pulled them together. He just bonds these kids and they grow up under his leadership.
"They train, they go out to dinner, they go bowling, they just love him, he's amazing how he just brings his team together."
Sloan said that what Broes has done with the under 17s now has the next group of under 14s graduates excited.
"The next kids are looking forward to stepping up to 17s next year because I think they go from being guided by their parents to being almost like little adults in the 17s under Brad," she said.
"I don't know how he keeps doing it every year, kids keeps turning up. I think they had their highest attendance rate at training which is incredible because they're a pretty hard age group to manage."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.