Star athletes get NSW schools call
THE drought has broken with the selection of two star Murwillumbah High School athletes in NSW Combined High School basketball and touch teams.
Aaron Devine will don the sky-blue singlet in open age basketball while Riley Yates, already selected to represent his state in under-15 touch, heads to Sydney in a fortnight or so to try and earn a berth in the NSW CHS under-15 rugby league squad.
Devine is one of two bush boys picked in the 10-member basketball squad.
Stuart Elder, Murwillumbah High's sports co-ordinator, said Devine is the first North Coast player to be selected for NSW in six years and that it has been many years since a Far North Coast basketballer had gone on to state representation.
"What's more, Riley is the first North Coast player in five years to be chosen for the NSW touch team," Elder said.
"It is very rare that country students get selected for such a prestigious opportunity as these hand-picked teams usually comprise students from the powerful Sydney Metropolitan regions, with a small number selected from country NSW.
"Having two of our students picked at state level is an incredible achievement and one that the Murwillumbah community can be justifiably proud of."
Next month the students will play for NSW in the annual triangular championships against Independent Schools and Combined Catholic Colleges after which the NSW All Schools teams will be selected to go on to nat-ional championships.
Riley said he was thrilled to be selected at state level as it was his highest sporting achievement yet.
"I have made a big effort to get selected in previous years but it hasn't happened. This time I noticed the selectors were paying close attention to my game. It gave me a big boost of confidence and helped me to play my best on the day," Riley said.
Riley, who plays fullback with the Murwillumbah Colts rugby league under-15s, possesses sizzling acceleration, top speed and is blessed with excellent ball skills.
Devine who stands 2m tall, said "it feels great to reach this level (in basketball) after such a short time playing".
The young man only took up the game seriously three years ago after switching from rugby league after dislocating his hip playing for the Murwillumbah Colts under-13s.
"If I don't get through to the next level I'm just happy to have got this far. I didn't expect it," Devine said.
Devine has played with local Tweed Coast Slammers and the Gold Coast junior rep team and was the youngest player to be selected for the Intensity Super League, a semi-professional league which includes several National Basketball League players and a couple of National Basketball Association draftees.