AFL premiers Swans swoop on Sleeth
By STEVE SPINKS email@example.com
BARKERS VALE teenager Fred Sleeth could be heading to AFL champions the Sydney Swans.
The centre-half forward or ruckman is heading down to Sydney for discussions with Swans coach Paul Roos next week after the premiership-winning club offered Sleeth a football apprenticeship.
It means the 15-year-old would live in Sydney with other players and go to school in the big smoke.
Sleeth came to the attention of talent scouts when he was announced the player of the Under-15s National All Schools' Championships in Canberra recently.
He was also one of only two NSW players selected in the All-Australian team, he was also selected as captain, and he finished the championships as leading goal-kicker.
Not only that, but Sleeth was the first player to be selected for the NSW side, north of Coffs Harbour.
In winning the player of the carnival he has joined a list of previous winners such as Lenny Hayes (St Kilda), Leo Barry and Nick Davis (Sydney) and Dean Soloman (Essendon).
The Kyogle High School student's efforts in the national capital were enough to make him the September winner of The Northern Star Southern Cross Ten 2005 Junior Sports Star of the Year Award.
But Sleeth's achievements don't end there.
Just before the school holidays, the giant youngster captured a silver medal in the shot put and a bronze in the hammer throw at the NSW All Schools' Athletics Championships in Sydney.
He is now gearing up for the National Championships in Darwin later this year
But that's not all.
The 1.93cm tall and 94kg Year 10 student is also a talented rugby league player.
He plays for Kyogle on the weekends and represented the Northern Rivers in the Under-15s as a prop.
Sleeth plays AFL on the Gold Coast with Coolangatta and is part of the Gold Coast Stingrays representative team.
Basketball is another sport the youngster has excelled in, but he has curtailed his representative appearances because he wanted to focus on AFL.
The talented athlete also plays cricket.
But that is where his dominance wanes a little.
"I play for Easts in Lismore, but only in third grade," Sleeth chuckled.
"I'm a batsman, but it's just for fun."
AFL is undoubtedly Sleeth's favourite sport.
He is an avid North Melbourne Kangaroos supporter, but if the centre-half forward is picked up by the Swans he wouldn't mind.
"They're a good team and I like their coach," Sleeth said.
Sleeth started AFL because of his father David, who has coached many junior teams around the North Coast.
David was also a Geelong Under-19s player in his youth.
But Sleeth's love and commitment to AFL hasn't always been easy.
After all, rugby league is the dominant winter sport out Kyogle way.
"They (friends) used to give it to me a bit, but they reckon it's good now," Sleeth said.
His friends may think AFL is even better if Sleeth becomes a professional with the Sydney Swans.