It was a case of third time lucky for Queanbeyan High School student Brad Rauter.
He recently qualified to represent NSW at the under 15 AFL national championships.
Now 15, Rauter had qualified for the South Coast team as a 13- and 14-year-old before finally taking the next step.
He credits pre-season training with the Queanbeyan Tigers under 18s and an “exposure to a more physical brand of play” for his selection.
The ruckman will travel to Adelaide for the national championships later this month and is the only player from the region to make the squad.
Rauter is holding onto a dream of playing professional AFL, perhaps for his favourite Sydney Swans, one day.
His teacher Greg Hair said the competition in Adelaide would provide a great challenge.
“He’s at the starting blocks now,” Hair said.
“It’s a chance to compare himself to other potential draftees and see what he needs to do to achieve his goals.”
Rauter said he was excited for the opportunity to play against a higher level of opposition.
The competition is likely to draw AFL talent scouts and athletes get a chance to tour Adelaide Oval and play on larger grounds than they would normally. But he wasn’t letting the occasion overwhelm him. He said he wanted to continue focusing on his education while working with the Tigers to improve his skills and see where it would take him.