Preview | Under 17s to give glimpse of the future
THE NEXT generation of AFL Draft hopefuls is set to be showcased on Sunday, as the Under 17 Futures take centre stage at Highgate Recreation Reserve. Victoria, split into Country and Metro, will take on squads from NSW-ACT and Queensland respectively in a return to the annual double-header format.
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Though some 2005-born stars who featured at this year’s Under 18 National Championships – like Harley Reid, Nick Watson, and Jed Walter – have not been named, the two fixtures provide an ideal opportunity for bottom-aged talent to put their names on the map well in advance of their draft eligibility.
Plenty of players set to compete are already plying their trades at high levels, including the NAB League and this year’s National Development Championships. Among them, the Gold Coast Suns Academy Under 16 MVP will represent Queensland, with both Leo Lombard named.
The Maroons, who take on Vic Metro, boast a third exciting 2006-born talent in athletic ruck-forward Caleb Nancarrow, who hails from Cairns and boards at Scotch College in Melbourne – tying him to the Oakleigh Chargers region. Ethan Read and Billy Richardson are other talls the Maroons are high on.
Though some top-end prospects will miss, there remains some exciting talent for Metro. Sandringham’s Archie Roberts is sure to catch the eye with his dash, while Eastern midfielder Cam Nyko has been a solid NAB League contributor.
Elsewhere, Logan Morris and Riley Weatherill should form a strong partnership as key position forwards. There are also a couple of father-sons to watch, with Kynan Brown (son of Nathan) tied to Melbourne, and Charlie Naish (son of Chris) looking to follow in the footsteps of brother, Patrick.
In game one, NSW-ACT’s squad reaches far and wide for its talent. On top of the usual mix of GWS and Sydney Academy players, NAB Leaguers from the Murray Bushrangers (three) and Bendigo Pioneers (one) also feature.
Among the Bushrangers, Connor O’Sullivan is one to watch. The promising tall can play at either end of the ground, and should compliment the ability of Giants Academy gun Charlie McCormack nicely. Speedy midfielder Caiden Cleary is another name who should be well known to most, having already turned out for the Allies.
The Rams’ adversaries, Vic Country, should give them a red-hot run. Explosive midfielder-forwards Sam Frangalas and Malik Gordan are hard to stop at their best, while Darcy Wilson is another who can mix it up on both lines. Meanwhile, Patrick Hughes and Cooper Simpson are reliable types in the on-ball crew.
Keep your eyes peeled for Scouting Notes covering the best players from all four sides on Rookie Me Central, as the nation’s best and brightest prospects continue to battle it out on the representative stage.
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VIC COUNTRY vs. NSW-ACT
Sunday August 14, 10.00am @ Highgate Recreation Reserve
VIC METRO vs. QUEENSLAND
Sunday August 14, 1.00pm @ Highgate Recreation Reserve