Ararat's Tom Taurau to play in NAB AFL Under-16 Championships

ARARAT young gun Tom Taurau will get his chance to shine at the NAB AFL Under-16 Championships in Sydney next month.

It was somewhat of a silver lining for Taurau, who missed the final cut for Vic Country selection, when he was named in the World Under-16s team.

"It was all a new experience for me with Vic Country try-outs, I didn't really know what to expect," he said.

"But I'm looking forward to playing with the world team."

His New Zealand background allowed him to be eligible for selection with his father, a sheep shearer, born overseas before moving to Australia well before Taurau was born. The 182-centimetre, 82-kilogram made his senior debut with the Ararat Eagles as a 15-year-old last season and has since played 18 matches. The year 10 Marian College student has been a consistent performer for the Eagles in 2013, being named in his side's best six out of seven times.

He was also a part of the North Ballarat Rebels under-16s development squad for the Vic Country Championships in April.

Vic Country team manager Jock Whiting said the national championships would be a wonderful opportunity for Taurau.

"Tom's just a good hard footballer and is a strong marker of the ball," he said. "It's great that he gets the chance to play under the world banner."

Taurau hopes the championships will be a springboard for North Ballarat Rebels TAC Cup selection next season.

"The aim would be to get picked in the Rebels, I would love to go all the way and play AFL," he said.

His younger brother Jack is also a talented footballer and played in the Wimmera's V-Line Cup under-15s side. Despite being born and bred in Ararat, Taurau is a West Coast Eagles supporter.

"My aunty and uncle bought me a membership when I was younger," he said.

"I used to be a massive Ben Cousins fan, now Nic Naitanui is wearing his number pretty well."

The world team will compete against the South Pacific, The Flying Boomerangs and WA North-West in the championships, which are on from July 6-13.

Players from 15 countries were selected in the side, including South Africa, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Zambia, England, China, Germany, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Hungary, Sudan, Kenya and Macedonia.

World fixtures, NAB AFL Under 16 Championships

Round 1: World v WA North West, July 7

Round 2: World v South Pacific, July 10

Round 3: World v Boomerangs, July 13.

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