PREVIEW | 2024 AFL U18s: South Australia vs. Allies

THE 2024 AFL Under 18 National Championships are set to get underway on Sunday, as South Australia hosts the Allies at Thebarton Oval. A range of AFL Draft prospects are set to feature; from one mid-season hopeful, to a raft of club-tied talent and potential first round picks.

Fresh off a historic undefeated run to last year’s title, the Allies have enough talent to more than hold their own, but enter the carnival as somewhat of an unknown with players from five different states and territories. Meanwhile, the Croweaters come in fresh off two trial game victories.

We preview Sunday’s clash with a look at the top prospects from either side, where the game will likely be won, and the predicted lineups.

>> SQUADS: South Australia | Allies


Who: South Australia vs. Allies
When: Sunday May 26, 11:00am ACST
Where: Thebarton Oval, Adelaide
How to watch: Live stream via AFL website



B: #16 A. Clarke – #26 H. Ramm – #34 J. Sheean
HB: #9 L. Montgomery – #28 T. Delmenico – #24 D. Sharp
C: #2 L. Camporeale – #11 P. Hargrave – #8 K. Herbert
HF: #4 N. Bowman – #25 C. Nicholls – #17 J. Newton
F: #5 E. Bradley – #39 N. Howes – #42 T. Welsh
FOL: #37 R. Borlace – #3 B. Camporeale – #7 S. Draper

INT: #14 S. Cumming, #19 H. Barker, #22 J. Hasting, #30 T. Rosenzweig, #31 T. McKay

EMG: #6 B. Barrett, #13 D. Sterzl, #23 H. Dodd


B: #1 N. Andreacchio – #42 K. White – #31 R. Gilder
HB: #2 Z. Uwland – #28 J. Cochran – #10 L. Carmichael
C: #16 S. Marshall – #8 L. Lombard – #11 J. Delana
HF: #13 O. Depaoli-Kubank – #32 J. Shanahan – #34 N. Sulzberger
F: #21 L. Douglas – #38 O. Dean – #37 J. Murphy
FOL: #40 L. Smith – #9 J. Harrison – #20 D. Annable

INT: #12 T. Stanley, #25 F. McFadyen, #33 T. Gallop, #36 B. Kennedy, #41 C. Bell

EMG: #24 T. Murray



Captain Sid Draper is the main event in South Australia’s side, but is slowly building back to form after a shin injury delayed his start to the season. The Croweater’s 2023 MVP is a slick midfielder with terrific agility and flair, so should open up the game with spurts of speed on Sunday.

He’ll be supported on the inside by the likes of Ben Camporeale and Phoenix Hargrave, while Kade Herbert may roll in off a wing as bottom-agers Dyson Sharp and Samuel Cumming provide a chop-out. Lucas Camporeale will be a mainstay on the outside with his hard running.

The Croweaters have a promising array of tall forwards who can thrive if the aforementioned midfielders find them often enough. Charlie Nicholls and Adelaide father-son Tyler Welsh loom as the key connection pieces, along with mid-season draft fancy Noah Howes.

Nicholls’ Central District teammate Tallan Rosenzweig is another marking target who should provide aerial presence, and mid-sized bolter Ned Bowman is a highlight machine. Down back, watch for Angus Clarke and Louie Montgomery to be the main distributors with aggressive kicking and run respectively.

Sam Marshall during last year’s championships | Image Credit: Chris Hyde/AFL Photos


Suns Academy star Leonardo Lombard is arguably the Allies’ leading prospect, and should feature in midfield alongside fellow first round fancy Samuel Marshall. The latter’s Sandringham Dragons teammate Nathaniel Sulzberger may also add some power to the mix as he looks to climb draft boards.

Combined with the ball winning ability Northern Academy products like Joe Harrison, Josaia Delana, and Daniel Annable, key forwards Jobe Shanahan and Ty Gallop should fed with frequent and varied delivery. That’s not to mention wildcard power forward Joshua Murphy and Tasmanian goalsneak Lenny Douglas.

The Allies are well stocked in the way of rebounders, with Swans Academy pair Nicholas Andreacchio and Lachlan Carmichael a couple of classy outlets. Ryan Gilder offers plenty going both ways, and bottom-aged utility Zeke Uwland‘s ball use will be a factor either in whichever third he is used.

An area the Allies may look to get on top is in the ruck. 204cm Giants Academy talent Logan Smith has garnered interest after a terrific few games for the orange team, while National Academy member Oliver Dean will support him ably on top of showing his wares in a forward rotation.


The Allies captured lightning in a bottle last year and will back themselves to produce similar success with a well balanced squad. The most significant question, though, is whether they can jell in the same manner with talent converging from far and wide on limited time together.

South Australia’s tall forwards will give most defences trouble, so whether the key defensive stocks of Kalani White, Joel Cochran, and possibly Cooper Bell can do the job remains to be seen. Gilder may also have to play tall at times. Though, the Allies boast their own dangerous marking targets inside 50.

The midfield battle is stacked with power, along with players who provide clean and consistent inside work. Whichever side can balance their ball winning group the best will inevitably be able to take advantage of their prominent forwards.

Ball movement in transition will also be an important factor. Clarke and Montgomery can carve the opposition up, while the Camporeale twins cover plenty of ground and half-forwards like Bowman and Jacob Newton will venture high up the field.

The Allies have similar weapons in the way of Andreacchio and Carmichael, along with Marshall and Lombard in the middle, and Oliver Depaoli-Kubank searching up from half-forward. Another area of importance is the ruck, where Ryan Borlace faces a daunting task against Smith and Dean.

Leonardo Lombard in AFL Academy colours | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central


Sid Draper vs. Leonardo Lombard

It had to be. Arguably the top two players afield and both potential top 10 selections. Draper is the South Australian captain, playing on home turf where his side won the Under 16 National Championships in 2022. Lombard is also made of leadership material, and the two are set to meet in the middle.

Both players have a terrific turn of speed, with Draper’s change of direction quite slick, while Lombard’s explosive streak is full of power. They are both capable of breaking the lines and taking the game on, and can roll forward to hit the scoreboard. When the game is there to be won, expect these two to be at the forefront.


Sun, May 26SA vs AlliesThebarton Oval11:00am
Sun, June 2Allies vs WABlacktown ISP12:00pm
Sun, June 9Vic Metro vs AlliesIKON Park10:05am
Sun, June 9Vic Country vs SAIKON Park12:30pm
Sun, June 16SA vs WAAlberton Oval10:05am
Sun, June 23WA vs Vic MetroOptus Stadium10:45am
Sat, June 29WA vs Vic CountryRevo Fitness Stadium10:30am
Sun, June 30SA vs Vic MetroAlberton Oval10:05am
Sun, July 7Allies vs Vic CountryBrighton Homes Arena10:35am
Sun, July 14Vic Metro vs Vic CountryIKON Park10:35am

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