NZ tour spurs Pup’s resolve

TICKING BOXES: Aussies rules player John Pupangamirri reflects on a year which saw him travel to New Zealand with the Flying Boomerangs.
TICKING BOXES: Aussies rules player John Pupangamirri reflects on a year which saw him travel to New Zealand with the Flying Boomerangs. Mireille Merlet-Shaw

MULLUMBIMBY Aussie rules player John Pupangamirri ticked plenty of boxes in 2013.

A stellar season on the Northern Rivers paved the way for him to tour New Zealand last month with some of the countries most talented indigenous players in the Flying Boomerangs squad.

It was his first time overseas and a trip he won't forget.

The under-15 Boomerangs won both matches against the New Zealand Hawks but it was some of the activities away from the field that John found most rewarding.

"We went to one of the old villages where we were and saw how the people live.

"There were a few challenges and things we got to do as well," he said.

"We did a big mountain hike and went white water rafting which was a lot of fun."

The Flying Boomerangs squad of 23 took on the Hawks in Wellington.

Despite not playing as well as he would have liked, John is in good hands with the Boomerangs.

Six indigenous players who previously represented the Flying Boomerangs were drafted to AFL clubs in 2013.

He is also a distant relative of Cyril Rioli and Allen Christensen who both are in the AFL.

"I probably could have played a bit better than what I did," John said. "I'll keep working on my speed and fitness to improve this year."

John has already played in the NAB Under-16 junior championships.

The Byron Bay High School student is hoping for another bumper year with Australian Institute of Sport and national selection up for grabs.

There is also a summer talent program on the Gold Coast for Under-16s before the season starts.

"I'm looking forward to the season; it's going to be a good year hopefully," he said.



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