Australian junior water polo captain Justin Trabinger. Photo: Lannon Harley
Once it was regarded as one of the country's premier rugby league schools. But now AFL is making its mark at Erindale College.
The college held its annual Talented Sports Program awards ceremony on Friday, with AFL winning the school's team award for the first time since 1994.
Australian junior water polo captain Justin Trabinger and world-ranked tennis player Ashley Keir won the main individual awards.
Erindale established itself as a dominant rugby league school in the late '90s, winning two national schoolboy titles in 1997-98 and producing prominent players such as Todd Payten, Brent Kite, Brett Finch Joel Monaghan and Michael Weyman.
But Erindale's TSP co-ordinator Mark Armstrong, also a regional head coach for the GWS Giants, acknowledged AFL's increasing presence at the school.
''We've seen a major growth in our AFL program over the last 18 months with the injection of the Giants into this region. We've traditionally had 14 or 15 boys involved in our sports program for the last half a dozen years and this year we've had 30,'' Armstrong said. ''We've had boys relocated from Wagga, Dubbo and the South Coast to come here.''
The AFL team dominated the local region in the Giants Cup with no team coming within 10 goals of them.
Meanwhile, Trabinger captained the ACT Schoolboys team that won a bronze medal at the Australian water polo championships and was a valuable member of the ACT Senior Men's team that won gold at the Australian Country Championships. He is now in Perth preparing to represent Australia at next month's FINA World Water Polo Youth tournament.