Contributed by: Troy Thompson
The Sydney Swans would like to congratulate QBE Sydney Swans Academy member Lloyd Perris, who has been awarded the Cameron Ling Medal for most professional player at AIS-AFL Academy. The medal, named after Geelong’s premiership-winning 2011 captain, was voted on by the best young footballers in Australia, who were Perris’ team-mates in the Australian Institute of Sport-AFL Academy squad which has just returned from a tour to New Zealand.
Before the medal was awarded, Ling said he wanted it to go to a young player who worked hard and was selfless, had a strong, positive attitude, and who was a good person. Seventeen-year-old Perris, who goes to Sydney Boys’ High and lives in the Sydney suburb of Cronulla, clearly fit the bill as he won the medal with 47 votes, ahead of runner-up Luke Dunstan from South Australia (36 votes).
There are 30 of the most talented under 18 footballers from around Australia in the AIS-AFL Academy squad, and at the end of the NZ tour they were each asked to vote on 30 character traits, and decide who best embodied those traits. Perris was awarded the highest votes by his team-mates in 12 of the 30 categories - competitiveness, passion, patience, loyalty, respect, selflessness, sacrifice, hard work, desire, professionalism, determination and listening ability.
The general manager of the QBE Sydney Swans Academy, Dennis Carroll, said the award was wonderful recognition for Perris. “We are really proud of Lloyd. He is a very talented young footballer but just as importantly he has the character, discipline and drive required to go far,’’ Carroll said.
Because Perris is a member of the QBE Sydney Swans Academy, the Swans have the advantage of being able to directly draft him to the Club in 2013 if he is considered good enough. The system works in the same way as the father-son rule which allowed talented youngster Tom Mitchell to come to the Swans in the 2011 draft.
Perris became part of the Swans’ junior QBE Academy program two years ago after he was identified as an outstanding talent by the Club’s Elite Talent & Operations Manager, Chris Smith. He began his footy with Cronulla Junior Australian Football Club.
Perris’ most recent award is all the more remarkable as he was not able to take the field during the AIS-AFL visit to New Zealand, where the side played one game against an open age Kiwi team. Perris had a knee reconstruction three months ago after landing awkwardly during a basketball game.
Michael Ablett, the AFL Academy development manager, said Perris’s attitude had been brilliant from the moment he tore his anterior cruciate ligament last year. “I have no doubt he will bounce back from the injury. He’s told me that he’ll never again take for granted being able to run,’’Ablett said.
“While it was tough for Lloyd to sit there and watch the other boys play in New Zealand we made him as much as part of it as possible. The other boys saw him doing his running and working with the assistant coaches, and could see he was doing everything right.’’
Perris was captain of the NSW/ACT team at the Under 16 national championships in 2011, and averaged more than 20 possessions a game. He was awarded an AIS-AFL Academy scholarship at the end of those championships and is the only NSW player in that 30-player squad.
He trains twice a week at the QBE Sydney Swans Academy, under the guidance of head coach, Paul Roos. Retired Swans’ premiership player Tadhg Kennelly is an assistant coach/mentor for the AIS-AFL Academy and is Lloyd’s mentor. To learn more about the QBE Sydney Swans Academy please visit http://www.sydneyswans.com.au/academy
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