Young Queanbeyan athletes to benefit from grants

Rising AFL star Harrison Straker has received a federal government grant to help him make the Greater Western Sydney Giants Academy team. Photo: Joshua Matic.

Rising AFL star Harrison Straker has received a federal government grant to help him make the Greater Western Sydney Giants Academy team. Photo: Joshua Matic.

HE may be just 13 years of age, but Jerrabomberra Australian Football prodigy Harrison Straker is looking towards the heights of one day playing for his beloved Collingwood Football Club.

And this has been made all the more possible for the St Edmund's College year eight student after receiving a federal government grant from the Australian Sports Commission earlier this week.

Straker is just one of six young athletes from Queanbeyan and Jerrabomberra awarded individual grants worth $500 under round three of the 'Local Sporting Champions Grants' program.

Dragon boat rower Lauren Sandeman, hockey player Jacob Randell, footballer Christian Palombi, and fencers Jackson Stanford and Oscar Curtis have all received grants to assist them in their respective representative journeys.

Straker has played Australian Rules since he was seven years old, and will this year use his grant to help him make the Greater Western Sydney Academy youth team for the second time.

After playing in the under 12s Australian Capital Territory schoolboys AFL team at the national meet in Darwin last year and making the GWS team, Straker is hoping to continue through the GWS system and one day play in the North East Australian Football League before aspiring an AFL draft pick.

"It would be my dream to play for Collingwood, but any club really would be fine," said Straker.

For Canberra Girls Grammar year 12 student Sandeman, the grant will assist in her many overseas trips representing Australia in dragon boating.

She travelled to Macau, China today where she will compete in the Asian Cup and Macau international in mixed 10-person and 20-person boats.

Randell is a rising hockey star and told The Queanbeyan Age his grant will one day help him make the Australian Kookaburras side and spring to life his Olympic dream.

He will represent the ACT under 21s team at the Australian Nationals in Sydney from June 30.

The 19-year old United club player has represented the ACT since under 13s.

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