The Gippsland Power U/18 TAC Cup Leadership Group: Captain Xavier Duursma of Foster, vice captain Austin Hodge of Bairnsdale, and deputies Matt McGannon of Fish Creek and Brock Smith of Moe.

FOSTER Secondary College student Xavier Duursma is one of Gippsland Power’s brightest prospects to be drafted to the AFL at the end of the year.
The Year 12 student was last week named captain of the Gippsland Power Under 18 TAC Cup team for 2018, and Gippsland Power talent manager Peter Francis says he has “all the attributes” to be a drafted player by the end of November.
“He’s very mature and he’s a very good player. He leads by example not just with his voice but in the way he plays. He goes hard at it and he’s got some really nice skills,” Francis said.
A talented and versatile midfielder, Duursma has come up through the ranks playing for Foster in the Alberton League and in Gippsland Power’s Under 15 and Under 16 squads.
He’s twice represented Victoria in the Australian Football Championships, played for Vic Country in the NAB AFL Under 16 Championships in 2016, and debuted in Gippsland Power’s Under 18 TAC Cup team last year as a bottom age player, winning best first year player for his efforts.

He says he’s proud to be captain and looking forward to the year.
“It’s pretty exciting but it’s also a big responsibility. As captain, I plan to lead from the front and set the tone and set a good example.
“I’m hoping we’ll get to the finals. Hopefully top four. That’s realistic for us. We’ve got a very talented group,” he said.
A keen athlete, Duursma has recently had success at regional level in interschool swimming, but AFL is his “number one”, perhaps unsurprising given his father, Dean, now a Gippsland Power under 16s assistant coach, was once a Sydney and Melbourne-listed player.
“Dad’s a bit of a role model. He’s happy to see me doing alright,” Xavier said.
Xavier’s uncle Jamie also played 59 games for Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne in the 1980s.
Xavier’s a Brisbane Lions supporter but would love to play for any AFL team.
He’s set for a big year, with responsibilities as a school captain as well as trying to make it onto the Vic Country Under 18s side.
Round 1 sees Gippsland Power take on the Murray Bushrangers at Punt Road this Saturday.
South Gippsland is well represented in this year’s squad, which also includes Matt McGannon of Fish Creek, Leongatha players Mason McGannon, Kyle Reid, Boadie Motton, Jack Hume, Jake Van Der Pligt and Mitch Bentvelzen, Brett Thorson from Meeniyan-Dumbalk, Korumburra-Bena’s Bailey Patterson, and Ryan Sparkes and Marcus Toussaint from Inverloch-Kongwak.