Adelaide Crows Next Generation Academy scholarship helps Aiden Holland work towards his AFL dream | PHOTOS

A good footballer always knows where the goals are.

Aiden Holland's goal is the 2020 AFL draft.

The ruck-forward is one of several Murraylands-based members of the Adelaide Crows' Next Generation Academy, a group of young players from diverse backgrounds who have their sights set on the sport's highest level.

The Crows awarded him a scholarship last month, money to help with both his education and the estimated 1000 kilometres per week he travels from his home in Murray Bridge to his dad's work at Bowhill, school at Swan Reach and training with Mannum and Sturt.

The AFL club hoped it would be an investment in a player who already has a few interesting dot points on his footballing resume.

He grew up playing for Mannum, finding in football a way to have fun and meet people, and played in the winning side in an under-17 grand final.

Individually he has won two league best-and-fairest awards at junior levels, plus an Andrew McLeod Medal for being the best player at the AFL Kickstart national championships.

He joined the Crows academy's emerging talent squad in 2016 and soon earned selection in both the SANFL Kickstart Indigenous team and the Flying Boomerangs, a side featuring the best under-age Indigenous players from across Australia.

Footy has taken him to Sydney, the Gold Coast, Cairns and Fiji.

Now, a couple of times per month, it takes him to the city to train with some of the best in the business.

"We had Don Pyke, he was coaching us; the coach that coaches the tall ruckmen; we had Eddie Betts teaching us how to kick goals from the boundary," he said.

Academy coordinator Jarrod Meers told the Adelaide Football Club website Holland was a worthy recipient of the scholarship, which was presented annually to an aspiring player who faced roadblocks as they sought to reach their potential.

The scholarship is supported by Variety, the children's charity, via the Crows Children's Foundation.

Other local members of the Crows academy include Malakai Kartinyeri and Kenyan Harradine (Ramblers), Russell Rigney (Imperials) and Riley Smelt (Mypolonga).

The Adelaide Football Club set up a regional hub for the academy at Murray Bridge High School last year.

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