Jackson Reeves produced an exceptional performance while playing at the National Inclusion Carnival on the Gold Coast which ended on Saturday.
The GV Stars player was selected to represent Victoria Country at the tournament and was the first player from the Goulburn Valley to do so.
Reeves, 16, was the second youngest member of the side, but that did not stop the power forward from kicking 15 goals across the carnival to finish as his side’s leading goal-kicker.
Reeves’ parents Simone and Steve headed up north to watch the tournament with Steve taking on an assistant coaching role having led the Kyabram District Football League interleague side for the first time this year.
Steve said it was a brilliant experience to be part of the side that helped his son gain more confidence.
‘‘It was absolutely fantastic, a wonderful achievement not only for him, but also a wonderful achievement for us to enjoy as a family,’’ he said.
‘‘He was over the moon and normally he’s at the back of the group and not saying much, but to see him right at the front and watch him grow over the week as a person and a footballer was great.’’
Reeves is a member of the thirds at Murchison and in his second year playing at the GV Stars after finding out about the team through school.
‘‘He got invited through Verney Road to have a go with the Stars and he did and he’s got some good friends he plays with there,’’ Steve said.
‘‘He was lucky enough to be nominated to try out (for Vic Country) and the rest is history.’’
Following three training sessions, the Vic Country team flew to Queensland where Gold Coast Suns coach Rodney Eade and dual Brownlow medallist Gary Ablett welcomed the teams to the AFL-run tournament.
Reeves played in an initial round-robin carnival to grade the eight states and territories, with his Vic Country side earning a spot in the top pool.
In a group with NSW/ACT, Vic Metro and Queensland, Vic Country defeated the home state by three goals to finish third.