It has been kept under wraps for almost six months but Serpentine Jarrahdale Grammar School finally revealed its secret to a large group of students, families and members of the community.
The school was happy to announce the official launch of the first AFL and AFLW Academy on June 13.
Endorsed by the West Australian Football Commission it was the first of its kind in the state and will see 59 students participate, which has now become part of the school’s curriculum.
Loud cheers erupted when the students ranging from years five to eight were called up and handed their guernseys by West Coast Eagles player Jordan Snadden, head of the AFL/W Academy James Bristow and female football players Caitlyn Edwards, Brianna Green and Gabby O’Sullivan.
Serpentine Jarrahdale Grammar School chairman Dave Gossage said he was very excited about the academy.
“It’s the first school in WA to have this program,” he said.
“I’m immensely proud to be able to support this and support the parents and the teachers in this venture.”
Mr Gossage said it was hard keeping it a secret for so long but now that the academy had been launched he was looking forward to what lay ahead.
“This academy will encourage youth development,” he said.
“It will encourage the students to become the best they possible can become.”
Principal Patricia Rodrigues said the program would not interfere with education and in her address to parents and students she said there was no way there would be seven hours of football everyday.
Ms Rodrigues also said she was surrounded by Dockers fans and scared to wear her West Coast Eagles scarf for fear of being lynched which received another round of laughs from the assembly.
“It is okay to be excited,” she said.
“I warmly congratulated our students and it is wonderful to have this happen to our school.”
The launch of the program also included a Q&A with the players and students and the youngsters were given an insight into the life of an AFL player, which included a healthy diet, physical training, enjoying the sport and studying.
Dockers player Gabby O’Sullivan said she was excited to see so many young girls keen to play the sport.
“I’m glad there is a pathway for young girls to play footy,” she said.
“Hopefully I will still be playing by the time all of you come through.
“Good luck to all the boys and girls.”