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Younger Scharenberg shattered for brother Matt's second ACL tear

Callum Twomey, in Florida  January 17, 2016 11:48 AM

Jonty Scharenberg training with the Academy in Florida

Jonty Scharenberg training with the Academy in Florida

Mum didn't want to tell me before I went into the exam which is fair enough, but I was just shattered for him

JONTY Scharenberg walked out of his English exam, opened up his Twitter feed on his phone and was shocked by what he read.

It was late November and his older brother Matt had torn his anterior cruciate ligament and would need a knee reconstruction, his second in two years on Collingwood's list.

"I couldn't believe it," Jonty told AFL.com.au. "Mum didn't want to tell me before I went into the exam which is fair enough, but I was just shattered for him. I sent him a text straight away but I just couldn't believe it.

"Seeing the hard work he's gone through and for it to happen again is pretty frustrating for him, but I'm sure he'll be able to bounce back."

Scharenberg, 17, hopes to join his older brother at the top level via this year's NAB AFL Draft, having impressed last season for South Australia's under-18 team and even breaking into Glenelg's senior SANFL side.

This week he is training in America with the NAB AFL Academy on their high performance camp in Florida – a trip designed to reflect an AFL club environment – but he already has a strong insight into what can come with being a professional athlete.

"Seeing Matt go through his knee injuries shows that AFL life doesn't always go your way. It's not always smooth. There's a lot of challenges along the way and it takes a lot of hard work so I've seen that," Scharenberg said.

"He's started his rehab back at the club now and he's happy with that, so I'm really keen for him to get back into it."

Although Matt's 2016 on-field campaign was all but ended before it began just 15 months after his first major knee surgery, Jonty enters the year among a group of exciting midfielders in this year's draft class.

The ball-winner is composed in traffic and thinks through the play, and enjoyed a strong season last year.

His senior debut for Glenelg as a 16-year-old also drew plaudits, an experience he didn't foresee having been in New Zealand a week earlier with the level one NAB AFL Academy squad.

"I was pretty nervous going into the game as I didn't expect it to happen, because I was overseas the week before," he said.

"Playing against Norwood, who are a pretty good side and had a few bigger bodies, was really good to come up against."

The Academy squad arrived at the IMG Academy facility in Bradenton, Florida on Wednesday and will stay at the centre until Thursday before heading to Los Angeles to close the camp.  

Scharenberg said the magnitude of the IMG's schooling and sporting complex had exceeded his expectations, and that he wanted to pick the brains of the Academy coaches to set up his final under-18 season.

Head coach Brenton Sanderson is on the tour alongside assistants Glen Jakovich and Brad Johnson.

"The first few days here have been great and I just want to get as much help and information as I can from the coaches," he said.

"Having legends of the game coaching us really makes you improve as a player and I've been trying to learn as much as I can. The IMG facility is much bigger than it looked online, and you've probably got to experience it to realise how big it is.

"It's the start of an exciting year. I'm looking forward to seeing what unfolds."