Western Australia Under 18 squad announced

WESTERN Australia has announced its squad to take part in the 2023 AFL Under 18 National Championships, with 32 players selected for the initial list. Six train-ons have also been included, making for a much different look to the state’s 20-man summer training squad.

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All nine WAFL clubs lay claim to at least one representative, with reigning Colts premier Peel Thunder boasting a high of six. Claremont, East Perth, Perth, Subiaco, and Swan Districts all contributed four players to the squad in what is a relatively even spread between them.

While 27 players fall into the top-age (2005-born) category, three bottom-agers may earn the chance to represent their state, while a pair of over-agers also made the cut. Namely, the latter pair consists of midseason draft hopeful Robert Hansen Jr, and prolific Perth prospect Oscar Hine-Baston.

The team will be headlined by Western Australia’s four National Academy members in Claremont swingman Daniel Curtin, Peel ruck Mitch Edwards, powerful Subiaco midfielder-forward Koltyn Tholstrup, and Swan Districts running machine Riley Hardeman.

Mitch Edwards competes in the ruck during last year’s U18 champs | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central

Among the familiar names of note is Claremont key forward Sam van Rooyen, the brother of Melbourne’s Jacob. Sam has similar presence inside forward 50 to his elder sibling, and played himself into representative contention with 10 goals across three Colts games this season.

Aiden O’Driscoll is another brother-of, with siblings Emma and Nathan both signed to Fremantle in the top flight. He was in WA’s summer training squad and holds his spot after producing strong form through the middle of the ground.

There’s also Peel midfielder Clay Hall, the son of 76-game Geelong and West Coast player, Derek. He’s one of a few players to have cracked League level so far in 2023, alongside Tholstrup, Hardeman, Hansen, and hulking Subiaco forward Luker Kentfield.

Edwards is among a few notable Next Generation Academy products for both Fremantle and West Coast. He’s tied to the Dockers along with South Fremantle midfielder/defender Jacob Whan, while ruck-forward Coen Livingstone and Hine-Baston are part of the Eagles’ program.

>> Ones to Watch: Western Australia

Dan Curtin is one of WA’s best prospects | Image Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos

2023 WA U18 SQUAD

Claremont: (4)
Daniel Curtin, Kai Dehavilland, Joe Matthews, Sam van Rooyen

East Fremantle: (3)
Kobe Austin, Presley Campbell, Koen Sanchez

East Perth: (4)
Bailey Harbour, Lucas Kemp, Tyler Lindberg, Xavier Walsh

Peel Thunder: (6)
Bo Allan*, Mitch Edwards, Clay Hall, Ethan Logan, Deian Roberts*, Reece Torrent

Perth: (4)
Oscar Hine-Baston**, Coen Livingstone, Aiden O’Driscoll, Elijah Scoble

South Fremantle: (2)
Ashton Ferriera, Jacob Whan

Subiaco: (4)
Lance Collard, Robert Hansen Jr**, Luker Kentfield, Koltyn Tholstrup

Swan Districts: (4)
Riley Hardeman, Otis Harvey*, Luke Kelly, Evan Smith

West Perth: (1)
Odin Jones

Train-ons: Austin Van Der Struyf (Claremont), Will Hayes (Claremont), Zane Zakostelsky (Claremont), Cooper Moore (Perth), Malakai Champion (Subiaco), Thomas Cathcart (Swan Districts)

* – denotes bottom-age (2006-born)
** – denotes over-age (2004-born)

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