AFL Draft | 2023 Vic Country Boys hub
VIC COUNTRY officially announced its 2023 State Hub on Friday, with the 25 chosen athletes participating in a two-day camp over the weekend. We highlight a bunch of players to watch next year, as well as some names for the future.
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AFL ACADEMY MEMBERS
Zane Duursma (Gippsland Power)
Forward/Midfielder | 188cm | 28/08/2005
The third in line from the Duursma clan, Zane is a natural forward who translates his traits when pinch-hitting in midfield. At 188cm and growing, he’s an aerial asset with wonderfully clean hands and a springy leap, while also looking smooth across the ground. His traits point towards top 10 potential, particularly if he can continue to enhance his on-ball craft.
Archer Reid (Gippsland Power)
Key Forward | 201cm | 19/09/2005
The brother of Essendon’s Zach Reid, Archer shapes as an opposite bookend. He has all the traits of a high-upside key forward/ruck, displaying clean skills below his knees, aerial nous, and a good deal of mobility. Reid was part of a strong Gippsland side which won the NAB League minor premiership and shapes as one of the leading key position prospects in the 2023 crop.
Harley Reid (Bendigo Pioneers)
Medium Utility | 185cm | 17/04/2005
There is no more impressive bottom-ager in the country than Reid, so much so, that many say he would have been a top five lock in this year’s draft. While he looks most comfortable as a midfielder-forward, the game-winning utility has shown his wares behind the ball and can genuinely play on every line. He is already powerfully built and looked as accomplished as anyone throughout his NAB League and National Championship campaigns. With strong athleticism and a knack for remarkable feats both in the air and across the ground, Reid will quickly become a fan favourite.
>> TOP PROSPECTS: 23 players to watch in 2023
Cooper Simpson (Dandenong Stingrays)
Midfielder/Forward | 181cm | 13/02/2005
Simpson proved undeniable for Under 17 representative honours across what ended up being a highly successful bottom-age campaign. In helping Dandenong reach the NAB League grand final, he showcased great ball winning nous, smarts and speed as a midfielder who can also snare goals when rotating forward. His high class style is sure to catch the eye.
George Stevens (GWV Rebels)
Defender | 189cm | 10/08/2005
Somewhat of an unknown heading into 2023, Stevens is a strongly-built defender who looked terrific while representing Vic Country’s Under 17s as a bottom-ager. Unfortunately, he missed all of 2022 after an ACL tear, but has the talent to suggest he can easily push into top 25 range next year. Despite the setbacks, he already has NAB League experience under his belt.
Darcy Wilson (Murray Bushrangers)
Forward/Midfielder | 184cm | 18/10/2005
Wilson rounds out the list as a well-established NAB Leaguer who quickly became a mainstay for the Murray Bushrangers. The smooth-moving midfielder/forward can play inside or out, in the air and at ground level, but will look to add some size before he attacks his top-age campaign. He has high-end potential and plenty of NAB League exposure already.
There’s set to be some strong depth across what shapes as a deep Vic Country squad, with plenty of prospects boasting considerable NAB League experience already. Dandenong has a promising crop, with the likes of Kade De La Rue, Sam Frangalas, Kobe Shipp, and Harry De Mattia all featuring in the 2022 NAB League grand final. Riak Andrew, the brother of Gold Coast’s Mac, also made the cut and is quite highly touted despite an injury interrupted bottom-age campaign.
Other top talents include GWV Rebels defender Luamon Lual, who captained Country at Under 17 level this year. Joel Freijah also produced nice moments for the Rebels on a wing, while Bendigo coaches rate the upside of explosive midfielder-forward Malik Gordan. There’s also marking forward Michael Rudd, inside midfielder Patrick Hughes out of Geelong, along with speedy Murray defender Coby James.
Country should be relatively well stocked in the key position department too, particularly in a ruck-forward sense. As far as top-age talls go, Joe Pike (Geelong) and Lachlan Smith (Gippsland) have some developable traits, while Bushies talent Boston Dowling joins the pair as one of five players who measure up at over 200cm.
There are four Under 16 All-Australians (AA) who earned automatic entry into next year’s Under 18 hub, including 2022 captain and Kevin Sheehan Medallist Finn O’Sullivan. The Oakleigh Chargers midfielder was a standout in a Country side which finished fourth, and has the quality to crack an Under 18 debut next year.
GWV Rebels onballer Sam Lalor is another in the frame having showcased strong ball winning attributes throughout the Under 16 carnival and in four NAB League outings. His frame and clean fundamentals make him a well developed type. Wingman Xavier Lindsay (Gippsland) and defender Brady Hall (Geelong) were also selected, while GWV Rebels ruck Flynn Penry snuck in from outside the AA group.
2022 VIC COUNTRY HUB
|#||NAME||SURNAME||HT||NAB LEAGUE PROGRAM||COMMUNITY CLUB|
|3||Cooper||Simpson||181||Dandenong Stingrays||Mount Martha|
|4||Darcy||Wilson||184||Murray Bushrangers||Wangaratta Rovers|
|7||Kade||De La Rue||181||Dandenong Stingrays||Beaconsfield|
|12||Harry||Demattia||188||Dandenong Stingrays||Edithvale Aspendale|
|13||Joel||Freijah||189||GWV Rebels||Horsham Saints|
|14||Michael||Rudd||190||Geelong Falcons||St Mary’s|
|15||Luamon||Lual||181||GWV Rebels||South Warrnambool|
|16||Sam||Lalor||186||GWV Rebels||Bacchus Marsh|
|20||George||Stevens||189||GWV Rebels||South Warrnambool|
|24||Joe||Pike||201||Geelong Falcons||Barwon Heads|