SA to lock horns with WA's next-generation in AFL showpiece
The 2021 NAB AFL U19 Championships competition appears set to get underway this Sunday as South Australia prepares to face Western Australia at Lathlain Park in Perth.
Flow News 24 understands that the match between both states has been greenlit as players representing South Australia were pictured on Friday morning at the Adelaide Airport departing for Perth.
The NAB AFL Championships showcases the game’s most elite young players and represents the top level of representative football for young players aiming to crystallise their careers as AFL professionals.
South Australian coach Tony Bamford, a former premiership player with Port Adelaide in the 90s, has praised his playing group ahead of Sunday’s match, acknowledging their ability to stay focused in a time of uncertainty. Bamford told media on Friday morning outside the Adelaide Airport:
“The boys are fine. They’ve adapted well to the late notice and they’ve trained the house down since we’ve known we’re heading across.”
The accredited AFL Level 3 high performance coach Bamford also highlighted the need for his team to be fired up ahead of the contest this weekend:
“We’ll come out and be aggressive but they’ve definitely got a competitive nature.”
There is a plethora of talent among South Australia’s roster including Central Districts star and Willaston representative Saxon Evans, who recorded 19 hit-outs and three clearances a fortnight ago when Centrals went down to Glenelg in Round 16 of the SANFL Under 18s competition.
Another player to look out for is Woodville West Torrens bolter and Kadina representative Zac Phillips who has recorded 196 disposals so far in 2021 at U18 level and boasts a disposal efficiency 72 per cent.
Tanunda representatives and Centrals juniors, Shay Linke and Luca Whitelum have also impressed so far in 2021 and will provide great depth for Tony Bamford as young utilities.
Max Lister, who has represented the CMS Crows (a merger between the Minlaton, Curramulka and Stansbury regions) has also impressed AFL recruiters with his performances in the last two years.
Lister, one of Woodville West Torrens’ most talented prospects, is most effective when deployed in the ruck contest and will look to gain the upper hand in that position in Saturday's contest.
Among the Western Australian line-up are two AFL-level father-son prospects.
Taj Woewodin, son of 2000 AFL Brownlow medallist Shane Woewodin, will feature as will Jesse Motlop who, despite his Daniel playing for Port Adelaide and North Melbourne in the AFL, has been approved for Fremantle to have first dibs on the youngester as a Next Generation Academy player.