Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Soccer pair heads to Tassie

Isaac Marshall and BrentonUrbaniak recently took part in Football Federation Australia’s Festival of Football.

LUKE MCMANUS March 15, 2014 4:04am

Isaac Marshall (left) and Brenton Urbaniak.

Isaac Marshall and Brenton Urbaniak’s love of soccer led the talented juniors to Tasmania last month for Football Federation Australia’s Festival of Football.

Isaac, 12, and Brenton 13, represented Country Victoria at the three-day carnival, competing in the under 13 division inside Launceston’s Aurora Stadium.

The tournament pegged Country Victoria against other states in a series of friendlies, exposing the duo to a range of different skill-sets and gifted players from around the country.

The pair performed extremely well.

Isaac scored two goals, while Brenton chimed in with a goal assist to help Country Victoria maintain an undefeated record.

‘‘It was really fun,’’ Brenton said.

‘‘It was a great experience, we got to meet other players which was good.

‘‘Playing at Aurora was cool, the grass was really green.’’

The boys, former members of Echuca-Moama Border Raiders, earned the representative honour by impressing at the FFA’s Skills Acquisition Program — a nationally recognised development pathway aimed at talented juniors.

The program, held in Bendigo under the guidance of renowned coach Nick Mammone, focuses on perfecting and accelerating the skills of identified players at their optimum age group.

Twice a week, throughout winter and summer, the boys travel to Bendigo for sessions, with a Melbourne-based session held once every three or four weeks.

‘‘Nick’s really good as our coach, he teaches us a lot of stuff,’’ Isaac said.

‘‘Every week we have a different subject,’’ Brenton added.

‘‘It might be dribbling one week, then there’s shooting (for goal), running with the ball into space and first-touch.

‘‘SAP has helped us improve on everything.’’

The boys’ talents, which have improved ‘‘out of sight’’ since taking up the sport six years ago according to their proud parents, have nabbed them a spot on Bendigo FC’s under 13 team ahead of the newly formed National Premier League season.

In the meantime, Isaac and Brenton will travel to Melbourne and vie for a spot on Country Victoria’s list to compete at the Australian Football Championships, to be held in Coffs Harbour in September.

While encouraging, Isaac and Brenton’s achievements are proving quite a handful for their parents, who are juggling driving the boys to training sessions, try-outs and competitions on a weekly basis.

The boys’ love of soccer remains at the forefront however, even more so now, given the boys attend different high schools, with Isaac at St Joseph’s College and Brenton over the border at Moama Anglican Grammar.

The duo may not hang out at the school oval anymore but Brenton’s backyard is proving a suitable alternative, keeping their love for the sport alive and well.

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