Will Dwyer will experience everything an international tournament has to offer next week.
The Shepparton product heads to Fiji from Saturday to play in the AFL Oceania Cup as part of the Australian Flying Boomerangs squad.
Pitted against teams from Tonga, Nauru, Vanautu and hosts Fiji, Dwyer, 15, is excited to test his skills against players from different backgrounds.
‘‘It will be really good to see how they go about the AFL and what they like to play and different types of bodies they are — if they’re from Tonga, they might be real big,’’ he said.
On what will be his first trip overseas, Dwyer is also looking forward to immersing himself in the culture of the host nation, with visits to Fijian villages part of the tour.
‘‘It will be a really good experience, I get to see what they do over there with their culture and sporting type of things,’’ he said.
Dwyer, who is of Yorta Yorta descent, has been part of the Flying Boomerangs squad for most of the year after impressing at April’s Kickstart Championships and feels the program, which has also taken him to the Gold Coast for the AFL under-16 Championships, has helped develop his skills on and off the football field.
‘‘It’s been really good, developing my football, my personal skills and meeting new people,’’ he said.
‘‘There’s a wide variety and range of people who can help me with that as well.
‘‘I’ve met a fair few people from Western Australia, South Australia and all over the different states and there’s a a fair few that I still hang around with in Victoria, play basketball against them and football and stuff.’’
Also a keen basketballer, Dwyer has had to take a step back from the Shepparton Gators to focus on his football, and is training with Richmond’s Next Generation Academy and the Murray Bushrangers.
‘‘I’ve given up Gators this year and I’m just playing the local competition for basketball, just focusing on my football and trying to get further with that,’’ he said.
‘‘I’ve been doing these weekly trainings with Richmond and the Next Generation Academy, every Tuesday and Thursday morning we have to get up and go down to the gym and have an hour there.’’
If that was not enough on his plate, the Shepparton Swans midfielder has also accepted a scholarship to Caulfield Grammar next year, yet another exciting opportunity for a teen whose star is quickly on the rise.
‘‘That will be really good for me to get to play in the APS tournament (Associated Public Schools of Victoria Championships), their weekly football, which is 10 games,’’ Dwyer said.
‘‘It will be a good experience.’’