APS: modern footy’s greatest nursery?

APS Sport representative team in 2015. (Photo: APS Sport Twitter)
APS Sport representative team in 2015. (Photo: APS Sport Twitter)


In the first week of June, two schools – Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar met amidst the shipping containers at Edwin Flack Oval in Port Melbourne for the 158th running of the oldest rivalry in football, the Cordner-Eggleston Cup. In a hard fought and close battle, it was the boys from Hawthorn who prevailed, despite not featuring 2016 first round draft chances Will Brodie and Jy Simpkin. Instead Scotch were led by Eastern Ranges under-ager Joel Garner and Oakleigh’s Dion Johnstone captaining the side. Similarly, their old enemy was lead by Eastern’s tough midfielder Dylan Clarke as well as his TAC teammate Jack Maibaum and NT product Ben Long.

Conventional football wisdom, usually delivered from the mouth of the grizzled fella leaning at the bar, or cradling a tinny in the outer has always held that ‘private school kids‘, particularly those from the APS, were soft; that they lacked the grit and toughness of their more blue collar contemporaries, and that they simply didn’t have the right stuff for when the whips were cracking and the footy got down and dirty. Schools such as Ballarat powerhouse St Patrick’s College, Kilmore’s Assumption College and legendary northern suburbs football factory Parade College were the only schools that produced ‘real’ footballers and that the tough stuff was learnt in the back blocks and local clubs that considered Scotch a drink not an educational institution.

It is surprising then, that an extraordinary 109 footballers currently listed at an AFL club came from those 11 schools, more famous for producing politicians, doctors and captains of industry than modern sportsmen, and even more surprising that below side – this writer’s Best of the APS – is a side not at all lacking in grunt, courage and ability, and boasting multiple number one and top ten draft picks, club champions, All Australian players, a Norm Smith medallist and a Brownlow winner. It boasts the brilliance of Rioli and Shiel, the power of Hawkins, the precision of Gunston and Goddard and the grunt and hard-nosed approach of Ziebell and Sydney Swans trio Smith, Kennedy and Hannebery; it is a team that you could put out on the park against any AFL side tomorrow and it would give a very good account of itself.

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No longer does the APS appear the softer, dandy little brother of the so-called football schools. Many more will be added to AFL lists when the Draft again rolls into town on 25 November in Sydney.

The recent Under 18 carnival concluded with seven APS student making the All Australian team. Jack Maibaum (Melbourne Grammar), Andrew McGrath (Brighton Grammar), Will Brodie (Scotch College), Josh Battle (Haileybury), Dylan Clarke (Melbourne Grammar), Patrick Kerr (St Kevin’s) and Tim Taranto (St Kevin’s) made the squad of 22.

It seems that – in the modern era – the silver spoon has become a steel sledgehammer.

Below is the complete list of former APS players on AFL lists:

Brighton Grammar School (7)
Josh Clayton (Brisbane)
Chris Dawes (Melbourne)
Jayden Hunt (Melbourne)
Ben Jacobs (North Melbourne)
Josh Kelly (GWS)
Christian Salem (Melbourne)
Jack Watts (Melbourne)

Carey Baptist Grammar School (8)
Jason Ashby (Essendon)
Ben Crocker (Collingwood)
Andrew Gaff (West Coast Eagles)
Nathan Hrovat (Western Bulldogs)
Kristian Jaksch (Carlton)
Jackson Macrae (Western Bulldogs)
Darcy Moore (Collingwood)
Jack Viney (Melbourne)

Caulfield Grammar School (15)
David Astbury (Richmond)
Tomas Bugg (Melbourne)
Brett Deledio (Richmond)*
Taylor Duryea (Hawthorn)
Brendon Goddard (Essendon)
Kurt Heatherley (Hawthorn)
Michael Luxford (Geelong)**
Daniel McKenzie (St Kilda)
Tom Phillips (Collingwood)
Paul Seedsman (Adelaide)
Dylan Shiel (GWS)
Callum Sinclair (Sydney)
Andrew Walker (Carlton)
Lukas Webb (Western Bulldogs)
Jack Ziebell (North Melbourne)

The Geelong College (7)
Zaine Cordy (Western Bulldogs)
Charlie Curnow (Carlton)
Ed Curnow (Carlton)
Lachie Henderson (Geelong)
Josh Saunders (St Kilda)
Will Schofield (West Coast Eagles)
Mason Wood (North Melbourne)

Geelong Grammar School (5)
Sam Lloyd (Richmond)
Paddy McCartin (St Kilda)
Billie Smedts (Geelong)
Devon Smith (GWS)
Easton Wood (Western Bulldogs)

Haileybury College (12)
Karl Amon (Port Adelaide)
Angus Brayshaw (Melbourne)
Keiran Collins (Western Bulldogs)
Tory Dickson (Western Bulldogs)
Nathan Freeman (St Kilda)
Jack Gunston (Hawthorn)
Tom Lynch (Adelaide)
Stefan Martin (Brisbane)
Lewis Pierce (St Kilda)
Tom Scully (GWS)
Alex Silvagni (Fremantle)
Tyrone Vickery (Richmond)

Melbourne Grammar School (16)
Ryan Clarke (North Melbourne)
David Cunningham (Carlton)
Nathan Drummond (Richmond)
Shaun Edwards (Essendon)
Xavier Ellis (West Coast Eagles)
Hugh Goddard (St Kilda)
Tom Hawkins (Geelong)
Alex Keath (Adelaide)
Ed Langdon (Fremantle)
Tom Langdon (Collingwood)
Lachlan Langford (Hawthorn)
Steven May (Gold Coast)
Zac Merrett (Essendon)
Jackson Paine (Brisbane)
Fletcher Roberts (Western Bulldogs)
Ed Vickers-Willis (North Melbourne)

Scotch College (12)
Jack Billings (St Kilda)
Darcy Byrne-Jones (Port Adelaide)
Aidyn Johnson (Port Adelaide)
Liam Jones (Carlton)
Jake Kelly (Adelaide)
Jake Long (Essendon)
Jamie Macmillan (North Melbourne)
Cyril Rioli (Hawthorn)
Ben Sinclair (Collingwood)
Jack Sinclair (St Kilda)
Nick Smith (Sydney)
James Stewart (GWS)

St Kevin’s College (7)
Jordan De Goey (Collingwood)
Lachie Hunter (Western Bulldogs)
Tom Liberatore (Western Bulldogs)
Touk Miller (Gold Coast)
Tom Nicholls (Gold Coast)
Reilly O’Brien (Adelaide)
Mitch Wallis (Western Bulldogs)

Wesley College (4)
Tom Campbell (Western Bulldogs)
Sam Frost (Melbourne)
Toby Greene (GWS)
Viv Michie (Melbourne)

Xavier College (16)
Patrick Ambrose (Essendon)
Tim Golds (Collingwood)
Billy Gowers (Carlton)
Daniel Hannebery (Sydney)
Daniel Howe (Hawthorn)
Alex Johnson (Sydney)
Josh Kennedy (Sydney)
Marc Pittonet (Hawthorn)
Ted Richards (Sydney)
Xavier Richards (Sydney)
Dan Robinson (Sydney)
Sam Shaw (Adelaide)
Jack Silvagni (Carlton)
Matt Spangher (Hawthorn)
Robbie Tarrant (North Melbourne)
Jobe Watson (Essendon)

*- Deledio didn’t play 1st XVIII football for Caulfield Grammar
**- Luxford played 1st Basketball for Caulfield and was drafted by Geelong

If you think we’ve missed anyone, please let us know @AFLDraftCentral.

Any questions on why certain players missed out, contact Duncan on Twitter @Uncle_Barrels.

One comment

  1. Scholarships. You probably could argue Indigenous lads weren’t going to end up in the APS if they couldn’t help generate enrollments.

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