RISING STAR: Caleb Back has been selected for the Bachar Houli Academy.
RISING STAR: Caleb Back has been selected for the Bachar Houli Academy. Peter Denham

MCG date for Lockyer Valley's rising aussie rules star

AUSSIE RULES: If Caleb Back's 20-metre sprint time is anything to go by, we could have our next AFL star rise from the Lockyer Valley.

Fifteen-year-old Back was one of 26 teens chosen to take part in this year's Bachar Houli Academy, and the only one from Queensland.

"They have a testing day in every state, every year,” Caleb's father, Peter Denham said.

"Any Muslim boy who plays AFL is entitled to take part.”

The academy is an intensive AFL talent program for emerging junior players from an Islamic background.

It gives youngsters a chance to develop their leadership skills and teamwork, and learn more about their faith and identity.

Up and coming footballers are put to the test, with kicking, jumping, running, and throwing skills assessed.

The 20-metre sprint was a tense moment for Caleb, as he only had one shot to prove his skill.

"The laser ran out of battery, so he only got one attempt,” Peter said.

"He did the 20 metres in 2.98, which is AFL standard.”

Caleb, along with his new team-mates, will be flown to Melbourne for a week long training regime.

"They do military-style obstacle courses, through mud and wire and all that sort of stuff. It's all team-building,” Peter said.

"They do a lot of theory, about tactics and the game. There's also religious theory. They pray together, and get taught about their faith.”

The program will culminate in a game of Aussie Rules against another team at the MCG, the day after the grand final.

"It's a very rare thing for people to be able to play there,” Peter said. "Caleb was gobsmacked when he found out that he was going to have a game on the MCG. He's really excited.”

This isn't the first time Caleb has had the honour of playing on a famous field.

When he was just eight, he took part in half-time games on the Gabba, and at Suncorp.

"He's been lucky to play on a couple of good fields in Queensland already,” Peter said.


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