Southern Finish on Top

Your Local Academy Games Wrap-Up 2024


For the third and final time, the Southern Sports Academy played host to the 2024 Your Local Club Academy Games. More than 1200 athletes from 11 Regional Academies across NSW descended on Wagga.

It was a captivating tournament for the Southern Sports Academy, which made the most of its final year as hosts by claiming medals in five of the seven sports to finish on top of the medal tally for the first time ever.


In Basketball, both teams battled injuries and fierce opponents. The boys finished runners-up, while the girls claimed the gold medal. Gabriel Busuttil and Jez Lashbrook from the boys’ team and Samantha Kerr and Bree Gillespie from the girls’ team went one step further to be named to the Regional Academies of Sport All-Star team.


The cycling team showcased their dominance once again, securing third overall after some impressive individual performances.

In the Saturday Road Race, Lexie Phillips was third while it was 1,2, 3 for SSA in the JM17 category, with Sydney Chittenden, Patrick McRae and Hunter Behnke taking the podium. It was a copy and paste on the results sheet for Sunday’s Criterium for the SSA riders.


It was an excitingly close competition on the golf course, with any one of the top 4 athletes able to take the lead heading into the final day of the individual competition. Oliver Nelson took out the overall individual winner, with Jesse Barac coming in close with T3rd. Isabella Johnson has a great showing in the girl’s division, finishing up 13th.

Sunday was match play where teams of 5 represented each Academy. After an impressive display across Friday and Saturday, SSA went into Sunday Seeded 1st in Division 1. In a tough semi-final against the Metro South Team, SSA prevailed and met WRAS in the final. It was a hard-fought final with the team from the Western Region Academy of Sport, which WRAS was too strong. A team silver was the icing on the cake for a program that came dead last in the 2023 Academy Games, having to borrow players just to make up a team.


It was another round of excitement in Hockey as the Boys claimed the Gold over the Hunter Academy 2-1. The boys’ division was another program that combined in 2023; having a full team for the final home Academy Games was fantastic. With several players returning from State Representation to the Academy Games, it showed the level of commitment the athletes had towards their team members.


Over at Equex with the Netball, SSA had two teams competing over the weekend in Division 1 and 2. It was a hard-fought pool for our Division 1 team, which resulted in a lot of learning for a team full of bottom-age athletes. Division 2 tasted more success, finishing 2nd = in Pool C.

Evie Henely was named MVP for the Division 1 team, while Tali Fellows claimed the award for the Division 2 team.


In the Triathlon, the Riverina’s Ben Devries claimed the top spot in the A final after a nice meeting with the pavement during the heats. Ben was also part of the ROSTA/ACT Jr Team, which claimed silver in the team relay on Sunday morning.


The final medal Talley for the Southern Sports Academy at the completion of the Academy Games:

5 – Gold

3 – Silver

4 – Bronze


We cannot thank all of our athletes enough for representing the Southern Sports Academy and themselves to the highest level. A special thanks to the parents and support for ensuring that our athletes could get to/from all training and events; finally, a massive thank you to our coaches and managers who gave up their time and energy to ensure our athletes can compete to the highest level.


The 2024 Your Local Club Academy Games is proudly supported by Your local club, the NSW Government, Wagga Wagga City Council, Active Health Riverina and Southern Cross Austereo. Full results from the tournament can be found on


We look forward to travelling to Tamworth in 2025.