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  • Writer's pictureWayne Phillips

Country quality to lead AFL draft picks

Phoenix Foster from Wudinna SA (photo: SANFL)

The AFL 2022 National Draft begins Monday 28 November where the nation's best 18 year old footballers are selected by prospective AFL clubs. Across two nights, a young footballer's destiny is determined and here at Flow Sports and across the Flow Radio Network we take a look at prospective country kids set to claim a place on an AFL list. We start in our New South Wales Riverina coverage area where Osborne Tigers young gun ruckman Nick Madden is the cream of the canola crop. The Hume Football League product made his Senior debut in 2020 as a 16 year old in the Osborne Ostriches side during the abridged Covid-19 Riverina Football League season. He has been part of the Greater Western Sydney Giants academy and should be added to their list on Draft night. Joining Nick from the NSW Riverina are midfielder Harry Rowston from Griffith Swans and Balranald star junior from Central Murray Football League Jason Gilbee. There is no shortage of talent in South Australian regions with at least five quality lads hoping to hear their name called. Another young ruckman who might go under the radar is Phoenix Foster. Hailing from Wudinna on the Central Eyre Peninsula, the same town and club as Melbourne's Harry Petty, Phoenix has player some exciting football in the SANFL Norwood side. Playing as the stand in ruck for the SA under 18's he was described as 'ripping the game apart' when first choice ruck Harry Barnett from West Adelaide was not available. Others to note on draft night are Max Michalanney who began his junior career at Ceduna Blues and played with the Murray Bridge Imperials Double Blues before seeing a little red at Norwood Redlegs. He is likely to add yellow to the other colours as he is taken by the Adelaide Crows under father and son. His headmaster father Jim was a star SANFL Norwood player in the later 70's and early 80's. Another one to watch is South Augusta and North Adelaide Junior Isaac Keeler while Jaidon Magor from Myponga Sellicks in SA's Great Southern Football League is a good forward prospect. Vic Country has many solid performers in this year's group including number 1 pick prospect Aaron Cadman from Darley near Ballarat as a GWS prospect. However, Noah Long from Echuca via the Bendigo Pioneers is a forward to watch. Long had a setback at the start of the year when he broke his collarbone in round one with the Bendigo Pioneers. It meant his year didn't exactly go to plan but one of his key games came for Vic Country, when he kicked three goals against Western Australia at GMHBA Stadium. Oliver Holland from Albury via the Murray Bushrangers is likely to go in the top 20. His brother Elijah is on the Gold Coast list. Jhye Clark from the Bellarine Peninsula town of Queenscliff near Geelong was a standout player during the closely contested final of the National Under 18's and will be another one selected from the Geelong Falcons factory. Country football competitions are the heart and soul of regional towns with our best young footballers looking to do their home supporters proud by making it to an AFL list. Flow Sports will have coverage Tuesday and Wednesday of how the draft unfolded.


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