Awarded the Michael Long Medal by his team-mates for his leadership and sportsmanship during the Flying Boomerangs’ fourth annual trip to South Africa from January 24 to February 5, the Armadale teenager is modest about his success.
‘South Africa really opened Callum’s eyes, boosted his confidence and gave him new perspective on life,’ father Brendon said.
‘It wasn’t just about footy, but also about sharing culture and making great new friendships with players from all over Australia,’ he said.
The Michael Long Medal recognises the outstanding contribution AFL Hall of Fame member Michael Long has made to the lives of indigenous Australians as a player and an AFL ambassador.
As the award winner, Callum will travel to the Gold Coast to inspire the next squad of Flying Boomerangs.
The Flying Boomerangs is a personal development and leadership program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rising AFL stars aged 14 to 15.
Coached by former St Kilda player Raphael Clarke, the squad was selected from the 2012 AFL KickStart Under-15 Championships to play against Geminder Youth Academy’s South African Lions.
The Flying Boomerangs won both the friendly games, beating the Lions in Potchefstroom by 111 points and in Durban by 85 points.
AFL national community engagement manager Jason Mifsud said the trip was a great opportunity for the talented young men to develop both on and off the field.
‘The players were exposed to elite training and many cultural experiences focused on the four core pillars of the program including resilience, identity, decision-making and communication,’ he said.
AFL South Africa footyWILD development co-ordinator and Geminder Youth Team assistant coach Steven Malinga said the game had grown tremendously in 2012 with over 20,000 registered participants across four provinces.