Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Bonding time

Deniliquin footballer trains with GWS

February 8, 2013 4:45am

Deniliquin teenager Doug Bond got a taste of what it takes to be an elite AFL player when he trained with the Greater Western Sydney Giants late last month.

The 17 year-old spent a full week living and training alongside the club’s senior list at the end of January and said being coached by AFL icon Kevin Sheedy was a ‘‘massive eye opener’’.

‘‘It was really good. Kevin Sheedy was there for a few days but most of the training was done by Leon Cameron,’’ Bond said.

‘‘It was great to get an inside look at how the AFL works.’’

It isn’t the first time Bond has rubbed shoulders with Western Sydney’s best footballers. Last year the AFL hopeful played a game for the Giants’ reserves side, in which he kicked two goals.

Bond is a member of the Slater & Gordon Giants Academy, an under-18 initiative put in place by GWS to monitor the progress of budding footballers.

It was through the academy that Bond received his invitation. He was flown to Sydney with Albury’s Michael Gibbons and North West Sydney’s Matthew Eastman for the ‘‘full on’’ week of training with the AFL’s newest franchise.

‘‘I knew how hard they trained but to actually go out there and do it with them was really tough,’’ Bond said.

‘‘Backing up each day was the hardest part.’’

Bond said training with the Giants involved gym work, yoga and pilates in the morning before a lunch break and then a 2-hour training session.

‘‘It’s a full day schedule and you only get Thursday and Sunday off. It was great though, I loved it. I already knew a few boys up there that got rookie drafted last year.’’

Slater & Gordon Academy manager Lachlan Buszard said the boys were invited so they could ‘‘train, play and experience the level of AFL footy’’.

‘‘As part of their academy and development process, we got the three boys from our zone in for the week,’’ Buszard said.

‘‘They’re top age kids who are looking forward to their 18th year this year, obviously with school and Year 12, and they came in for a bit of experience with the Giants squad.’’

As Bond has never completed an AFL club’s full pre-season before, his training load was managed to see him take part in ‘‘55 to 60 per cent of the sessions’’.

‘‘It’s about putting them in the environment and letting them see what and how AFL players do; How they prepare, how they train, how hard they work, and hopefully provide them with a great grounding for when they go back to their respective sides,’’ Buszard said.

The academy manager said all three boys that trained with GWS should have aspirations of making an AFL team’s list by the end of the year.

In 2011, when he was just 16, Bond played in a senior premiership with the Deniliquin Rams.

Last year he shifted his studies to attend Geelong Grammar and was subsequently picked up by TAC Cup club Geelong Falcons. The livewire forward finished the year with 14 goals from eight games in the nation’s premier under-18 competition.

His hard work in Sydney didn’t go unnoticed either, with GWS star Taylor Adams tweeting: ‘‘Great to see Geelong Falcons youngster Doug Bond train so well at the GWS Giants all last week!

‘‘Big year for the Deni boy.’’

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