LONGFORD footballer Tyran Mansell is still pinching himself.
The Kings Meadows High School grade 9 student was the only Tasmanian picked in the AFL's 2014 Flying Boomerangs squad that will compete in the national under-16 championships on the Gold Coast next week.
The 15-year-old midfielder will be part of an indigenous team that will play three division 3 matches during the carnival against the Western Australia North-West, and a South Pacific and world team.
The team will be coached by former Norwood and Port Adelaide player Eugene Warrior.
``I was surprised to be picked but happy at the same time - and a bit nervous,'' Mansell said.
The Flying Boomerangs is a personal development and leadership program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island youth aged 14 and 15.
Selected by AFL talent managers after the national kick-start under-15 championships in Coffs Harbour, the 25-player Flying Boomerang squad was chosen based on school attendance, leadership skills and football ability.
While on the Gold Coast the indigenous players will be involved in education and career programs including a visit to the Gold Coast Suns Football Club.
``The Boomerangs is more than a football program,'' AFL head of diversity Jason Mifsud said.
``It is preparing our next generation of young indigenous leaders with the skills, qualities and experiences to become positive role models in their own families and communities.''
Mansell said the trip would help him to improve his football.
``We've got a strong team I reckon and we already played a game a couple of months ago in Coffs Harbour after we were picked,'' he said.
``I want to keep on playing in the future at the highest level I can and improve my skills as a leader.''