Maffra trio among Vic Country
Even if it is as minuscule as a characteristic, it is a common belief that we are all born destined for something.
Max Knobel, Jonti Schuback and Coby Burgiel, sons of professional Australian Rules footballers Trent Knobel, Jacob Schuback and Hayden Burgiel, ascertain the belief to be true that they were predisposed to bear talents for football.
That they were born with footy running through their veins, if you will, and destined to follow in their fathers’ footsteps, having been selected for the 2022 NAB AFL National Championships.
The NAB AFL National Championships are the highest state and territory representative football level, as part of the AFL’s Talent Pathway Program.
The AFL National Championships features the most talented boys from across Australia who are the next generation of professional Australian Rules Football stars.
Local Maffra boys Max Knobel, Jonti Schuback and Coby Burgiel, are part of the Under 18 Boys 2022 NAB AFL National Championships Victoria Country squad. The first time in the AFL National Championships for Knobel and Burgiel and a second time for Schuback.
“I also played in the Under 17 National Champs,” Schuback said.
Best mates on and off the field, Burgiel and Schuback played for Gippsland Power last season, with Knobel joining this year.
The Under 18 Boys 2022 NAB AFL National Championships commenced on Sunday, June 19, at Adelaide’s Thebarton Oval, with South Australia and the Allies going head-to-head in the opening match.
Victoria Country played their first game against South Australia at Thebarton Oval on Sunday, June 26.
Coaches and supporters held their breaths until the match's final seconds, with Vic Country holding on to win 9.8 (62) to 8.12 (60).
Coby Burgiel collected 25 touches in the first game against South Australia, and Jonti Schuback had 21 disposals and 11 marks.
Burgiel, Schuback and Knobel agreed that they played their best game of footy in the National Championships so far against the boys from SA.
“I thought they were all decent (games),” Burgiel said.
“I would say the first game (against SA) was my best; I felt like I was more impactful, I used the ball really well throughout the game, and I was consistent.”
Knobel said: “So far in the National Championships, I think my best game was probably over in Adelaide against South Australia”.
“I thought I rucked well that day, had a good competition, got around the ground well and got involved in general play.”
“I thought the South Australia game was probably my best game,” Schuback added.
Vic Country took on the Allies at the Gabba on Sunday, July 3, in their second game of the championships.
Vic Country overpowered the Allies with a 10.15 (75) to 5.12 (42) win.
Victoria Country was too strong for Western Australia in their third game, beating the west coast team 12.11 (83) to 6.4 (40) at GMHBA Stadium on Sunday, July 17.
Coby Burgiel kicked three goals for Country in the match against Western Australia.
With Victoria Metro’s win over South Australia earlier in the day, Country’s win over WA set up a championship decider in Grand Final week.
Country will meet Metro at Marvel Stadium in the last game of the carnival on Thursday, September 22.
For Max Knobel, Jonti Schuback and Coby Burgiel, having dads who have made it in AFL has certainly acted as a driving force for the three youngsters.
“Dad has always been a big driving factor for me,” Schuback said.
“Growing up, dad played a lot of footy, and I watched a lot of his footy and I’ve always really enjoyed the way he has played and want to implement it into my game.
“He has pushed me to train, taught me to get me where I need to be; dad has been a huge aspect for me.”
“Dad was very supportive of me deciding to play AFL,” Burgiel said.
“Going and watching his games from a young age, it really motivated me to choose AFL.”
“I definitely started playing footy cause of dad, growing up watching him play,” Knobel said.
“He has been really supportive, knowing AFL is what I want to do, teaching me about the craft of the game.”
The three Maffra musketeers are giving it their all in the lead-up to the championships decider and the final rounds of the footy season in the hope that they will be drafted at the end of the year, continuing the path their fathers once walked.