PREVIEW | 2024 AFL U18s: Allies vs. WA

WESTERN Australia kicks off its 2024 Under 18 National Championships campaign against the Allies on Sunday, when the two sides meet in Blacktown. The Black Ducks will be playing with a point to prove, while the reigning champions have last week’s loss to South Australia to rectify. We preview the clash.


Who: Allies vs. Western Australia
When: Sunday June 2, 12:00pm AEST
Where: Blacktown ISP, Sydney
How to watch: Live stream via AFL website



B: #1 N. Andreacchio – #44 B. Richardson – #31 R. Gilder
HB: #10 L. Carmichael – #41 C. Bell – #28 J. Cochran
C: #2 Z. Uwland – #8 L. Lombard – #16 S. Marshall
HF: #11 J. Delana – #30 N. Chamberlain – #21 L. Douglas
F: #4 R. Mentha – #32 J. Shanahan – #37 J. Murphy
FOL: #40 L. Smith – #20 D. Annable – #34 N. Sulzberger

INT: #9 J. Harrison, #12 T. Stanley, #13 O. Depaoli-Kubank, #25 F. McFadyen, #36 B. Kennedy

IN: N. Chamberlain, R. Mentha, B. Richardson
OUT: O. Dean, T. Gallop, K. White

Malakai Champion gets a kick away | Image Credit: Peter Keleman Photography


B: #18 C. Dennis – #21 D. Petersen – #30 J. Douglas
HB: #10 A. van der Struyf – #20 C. Curtin – #13 J. Artemis
C: #8 B. Banfield – #15 D. Roberts – #23 C. Burke
HF: #5 W. Hayes – #17 M. Rohr – #11 H. Davis
F: #1 C. Angove – #26 K. Gerreyn – #3 M. Champion
FOL: #29 A. Riddle – #2 L. Urquhart – #6 B. Kelly

INT: #14 M. Becker, #19 K. Evans, #24 F. Rodriguez, #27 T. Hiscock, #34 J. Rigoll

>> FULL SQUADS: Allies | Western Australia



The Inclusions

The Allies have made three changes from last week’s losing side, though not all are necessarily like-for-like rotations. There may be a few shuffles in the key position department, with three talls going out for one-and-a-half key position players – let us explain.

Lions Academy utility Billy Richardson can play at either end of the ground and likely slots into the full back spot vacated by Kalani White. Although, he could also serve as the ruck-forward cover with Oliver Dean coming out of the side. Either way, the over-ager offers flexibility.

Bottom-ager Noah Chamberlain earns a berth as the more likely replacement for Dean up forward. At 191cm, he is arguably just under key position height but acts as a mobile marking target. Then there’s crafty small forward Ricky Mentha, who adds speed in the place of strong marking tall Ty Gallop.

Leo Lombard

Best afield for the Allies last week, Lombard consistently performs a level above his peers on the big stage. His power and pace through the middle of the ground will trouble Western Australia, and with one game under their belts together, the Allies’ midfield group should have his creative method down pat.

Josh Murphy

The skipper was in fine form last week, returning from suspension with three goals and starting like a house on fire. He’s a power forward who is difficult to match up on for his size, speed off the mark and dynamism inside 50. Expect him to kick goals from all angles and methods as a constant threat.

Logan Smith

Smith is one of just three Giants in the Allies’ round two team, for what will essentially be a home game for each of them. The towering talent has been in fine form this year, putting his name forward as perhaps the best ruck available. Against stiff opposition in numbers, he’ll have to be at his best.

Sam Marshall

Having collected a lazy 16 disposals in the final quarter last week, expect Marshall’s running and versatility to come to the fore once again. If he doesn’t get you in the first half, he’ll outlast you in the second and can play on either side of midfield or off half-back. He could be in for another big one.

Sam Marshall had 30 touches last week | Image Credit: Rookie Me Central


The Rucks

The combination of Kayle Gerreyn and Aiden Riddle is one of Western Australia’s best one-two punches in the entire squad, and will have to hit hard against 204cm Allies ruck Logan Smith. Both are also capable of rolling forward and the fact they can give each other a chop-out works in their favour. Throw Max Rohr into the mix and you have some sturdy ruck stocks.

Malakai Champion

Champion is one of Western Australia’s most promising prospects in a relatively shallow pool this year. The electric small forward looks to have his spark back after a stuttered start to the season, and offers plenty of creativity in the forward half. His speed and improvisational skills should trouble the Allies.

Cody Curtin

The younger brother of Adelaide’s Dan, Cody Curtin is blazing his own trail through Western Australia’s pathway. Also a key defender, he showed out during the Black Ducks’ second trial with a terrific display of intercept marking. He moves well, reads the play, and has plenty more to give as a bottom-ager.

Deian Roberts

With state skipper and top talent Bo Allan set to miss game one with a back injury, plenty of ball winning responsibility rests on shoulders of his Peel Thunder teammate, Roberts. A big-bodied and powerful type on the inside, he’ll have to stand up against an Allies midfield group which bats deep.

Luke Urquhart

Along with Roberts, Urquhart will have to go some way to covering what Allan’s absence leaves behind. His speed and energy coming out of the contest will be key, along with the strong defensive pressure he brings. If things are going WA’s way through the middle, he and Roberts will likely be central to it.


Allies vs. South Australia
NSW/ACT vs. South Australia
WA vs. WAFL U21 All-Stars
WA vs. Claremont Reserves


The Allies’ added pace, mobility, and flexibility up forward should go a long way. Mentha would likely have been a starter if available last week, while Chamberlain’s athleticism is handy along with the versatility of Richardson in a revamped set of bookends.

Midfield depth and variety also works in the Allies’ favour. There’s a great blend of power, speed, grunt and natural ball winning ability that will have them running in waves out of the middle. To combat that, WA has some solid ball winners but perhaps less dynamism and flair.

Western Australia’s pace in the forward half and ability to score quickly will ensure they are always a chance to keep in striking distance, or kicking away. The Black Ducks will also look to stretch the Allies’ defence with their rotating tall options out of the ruck.

Lastly, travel may be a factor in this one. While the Allies come from everywhere and really only met as a group last week, they have a competitive game under their belt and will only be better for it. WA makes a long trip east with two trial games in tow, but faces a different beast on Sunday.


While Western Australia’s victory in its second trial game was promising, the Black Ducks have left their runs late with big last quarter efforts. They’ll need much more consistency against a fierce and deep Allies side which should be hungry to get on the board. Allies by 25 points.


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
All times local

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