Flag-bearers for juniors
By DARREN MONCRIEFF
THEY were literally the first two youngsters to sign up to the fledgling junior AFL competition on the Northern Rivers in 2000.
Now, eight years later, Mitch Baum and Will Alexander are regular fixtures in the senior Summerland Australian Football League (SAFL) competition.
Mitch, 16, plays for the Casino Lions and Will, 17, plays for the Nimbin Demons.
Will was made captain of the Demons this year and has relished in the leadership role.
The teenagers play against men in the SAFL because junior footy in the region ends at Under-16s with the Northern Rivers Storm, our rep team on the Gold Coast.
Mitch made his senior debut this year in May against Ballina.
He describes what that felt like.
"It was daunting!" he said. "I was very nervous to tell you the truth, but once I got that first touch of the ball, I sort of settled and got into it. It was a big step up from the 16s."
Mitch has settled well. He plays across the half-forward line for the Lions and has so far kicked 10 goals this season.
Will, who made his senior debut when he was 14, is a skilful player and he gets a lot of possessions in the midfield.
The Demons haven't won too many games over the past few seasons but Will's loyalty runs deep.
"I've stuck with Nimbin because they've given me the confidence as a footballer," he said. "It takes a lot of dedication to play senior footy and it's been character-building."
One of Will's highlights has been playing on the same Nimbin team as his Dad.