Athletes from across the state are taking part in final preparations for the 2021 Academy Games.
Almost 100 athletes and 25 coaching and support staff from the South West Sydney Academy of Sport (SWSAS) will head to this year's Clubs NSW Academy Games competition, to be held in the Hunter region from April 16 to 18.
SWSAS will be one of the eleven NSW regional academies of sport competing at the games, with the academies AFLW, basketball, golf, netball and triathlon squads to battle against thousands of other talented junior athletes from around the state.
One such squad who have been hard at work finding their form and ironing out any creases has been the SWSAS' AFL Women's squad, and one particular athlete who is looking forward to the games is Camden's Jasmine McAllister.
"I am very excited to go to the Academy Games this year," McAllister, who is in her second year with the SWSAS AFLW program, said.
"Last year the Academy Games were cancelled so close to the event. It was pretty upsetting.
"That experience really changed my mindset on what could happen, it changed my mentality. Previously I had thought that everything would be set in place and would be handed to me.
"Now I know that's not true, so I have trained harder this year, and not taken anything for granted. And here we are, I am ready for the games."
The talented youngster said playing with the academy had helped to hone not just her on-field skills, but her off-field skills as well.
"I first started playing AFL five years ago and was fortunate enough to be a part of the first AFL women's competition in Western Sydney," McAllister said.
"To be honest, I was 11 playing against 15 year olds, so I got smashed. That experience however toughened me up and bit, and the rest is nothing compared to that experience.
"Being a part of SWSAS has helped me develop more leadership, team and relationship building skills.
"You can be the best player in the comp, but unless you have good people around you, there is no point playing at all."
McAllister and the SWSAS AFLW squad recently took part in a day-camp hosted by the Queanbeyan Tigers AFL Club.
The day-camp, was the continuation of a week of top skills training, commencing with a visit by former Canberra Demons NEAFL head coach Kade Klemke, now with the Tigers.
SWSAS chief executive Gerry Knights said Klemke put the Academy squad through their paces at a local training session.
"The Tigers program in Queanbeyan has long been recognised as one of the leading female pathway programs in NSW/ACT," he said.
"And it was a logical fit to have our athletes experience a day training and competing, within their high-quality performance program."
For more information, visit: www.swsas.org.au or call: 4627 7622.