Richmond’s Next Generation Academy (NGA) enjoyed a successful start to its 2020 season last weekend with an annual developmental camp and match against Hawthorn’s Academy.
The Under 15s clash, this year hosted by Hawthorn at the Ricoh Centre, is Richmond NGA’s headline game of the year.
Twenty-five participants aged 13-14 took part in the weekend camp, which was held at the Swinburne Centre.
At the commencement of the camp, the players brainstormed values they wanted to embody over the weekend; respect, sportsmanship, teamwork and playing to their strengths.
Richmond NGA coach Ryan Ferguson said the group "lived (the values) as much as we could have asked them".
"The integrity they all showed and the way they tried to incorporate the values they came up with was outstanding," he said.
Ferguson said the match against Hawthorn was a fantastic opportunity to play in a professional environment and learn elite habits.
Impressed with their fast start and liveliness, Ferguson was pleased to see the participants bring flair and excitement.
"We asked them to bring all the things they’re good at and they did, but also to connect with others and put a lot of energy into each other," he said.
"After goals, you’d see the celebrations where they’d all come together to enjoy each other’s feats on the ground.
"We saw them playing to their strengths, showing what they’re good at and we saw a great energy and vibe out on the ground.
"We couldn’t ask for much more."
Since its launch in 2016, Richmond’s NGA has introduced football to boys and girls from Indigenous and multicultural backgrounds, also providing pathways for coaches, umpires, and administrators.
"(It’s about) getting people playing football and enjoying their football," Ferguson said.
"Some of them are really raw and getting into football for the first time but they’re interested and keen.
"And some of them are quite competitive and quite talented so we want to give them an elite pathway."