Under 18 Championships Preview: Allies

THE ALLIES are in their second year of a relatively new Under 18 Championship concept bringing together the best players from the Under 18 Academy Series (Previously the division two championships) to play against the division one teams.

2016 saw top ten draftees Will Setterfield (GWS Giants) and Jack Bowes (Gold Coast Suns) run out for the Allies, playing against division one sides South Australia, Western Australia, Vic Country and Vic Metro.

Last year saw the Allies bookmarked as favourites by some for the title – but struggled coming together just before the championships started, finding it hard to play as a team. This year; a camp as a group and two trial games in the lead up to the division one carnival will hopefully allow the players to adjust to their new teammates and gel as a group.

While the squad on the forefront isn’t as strong as last year, the Allies are expected to put up a fight throughout the carnival.

Greater Western Sydney’s academy has the most members of any division two side, with 12 players included, followed by Gold Coast Academy (10) and Sydney Academy (nine). Northern Territory (seven), Tasmania (six) and Brisbane Lions (four) round out the other division two sides.

Among those named are first round prospects Jarrod Brander and Charlie Spargo (GWS), both of whom were ruled ineligible to be drafted by GWS through the academy system and placed on the open market. Connor Ballenden (Brisbane) is another pegged as a first round talent as one of the best key forwards in the draft.

The squad also includes two father-son prospects for the 2018 draft with Bailey Scott (Gold Coast) who is also eligible for father/son at Geelong and North Melbourne, and Nick Blakey (Sydney – also eligible for father/son at North Melbourne and Brisbane).

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DHu5Xb0zzg[/embedyt]

Players to watch: 

Zac Bailey – Was one of the standouts for the Allies in their trial game against Vic Country – collecting 18 disposals, laying eight tackles and had five clearances. His work inside the contest is very good despite his small frame. Has enough speed to burst from the stoppages and can hit the scoreboard.

Connor Ballenden – The Brisbane Lions Academy member is a strong contested marking forward who plays well out of the goalsquare. Will likely provide some chop out in the ruck for Brayden Crossley and Nathan Richards throughout the carnival. Has a very fluid set shot routine and kicks more goals than he misses.

Jarrod Brander – Brander is a key position tall that can play at either end. His mobility is very good and he reads the flight of the ball well in the air. Has been kicking goals for Geelong Grammar at school football – but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him play at centre half back in the Under 18 Championships for the Allies.

Jack Powell – The GWS Academy member is a good two-way runner and is a clean ball user on his right foot. Spreads well from the contest and did some good things in the NAB AFL Academy game at the MCG. Had 16 disposals in the midfield for the Allies in their practice game against Vic Metro.

Charlie Spargo – Small bite-sized midfielder who cracks in hard despite standing at 175cm. Wins the contested ball and is willing to tackle hard to get the ball back. Played for the Allies in 2016, with a strong effort manning Vic Metro’s MVP Andrew McGrath at Etihad Stadium – collecting 15 disposals and laying six tackles.

2018 names to keep an eye on:

Bailey Scott – Good decision maker with ball in hand and wins the ball on both the inside and outside. Marks well overhead and was impressive for Gold Coast in the Under 18 Academy Series. Had 12 disposals and took four marks in the Allies’ trial game against Vic Country. Father-Son prospect to Geelong and North Melbourne, as well as being eligible for Gold Coast through their academy.

Nick Blakey – One of the leading players for the 2018 draft. Not only can play as a tall, but has the ability to push up into the midfield. Moves well and kicks it nicely on his left foot. Likely to play up forward for the Allies. Sydney Swans Academy member and father-son prospect to North Melbourne and Brisbane Lions.

Tarryn Thomas – Starred for Tasmania last year in the Under 18 Championships as an Under 16 player. Had some outstanding moments in the trial game against Vic Metro collecting 17 disposals, showing off his speed across half forward. Had very good vision and awareness to switch the ball deep inside 50 to find a free teammate at the top of the goalsquare. Is part of North Melbourne’s Next-Generation Academy.

FIXTURES

Round 1: v VIC COUNTRY – June 11th 12.30pm Blacktown
Round 2: v SOUTH AUSTRALIA – June 17th 10.10am Adelaide Oval (FOX FOOTY)
Round 3: v WESTERN AUSTRALIA – June 25th 12.30pm Leederville Oval
Round 4: BYE
Round 5: v VIC METRO – July 5th 2.10pm Simonds Stadium (FOX FOOTY)

Possible Round One team: 

B: Jake Hinds, Jack Payne, Kwaby Boakye
HB: Tom Highmore, Jarrod Brander, Jack Clayton
C: Brodie Foster, Nicholas Shipley, Sam Davidson
HF: James Bell, Nick Blakey, Tarryn Thomas
F: Hugh Dixon, Connor Ballenden, Jack Hardman

FOLL: Brayden Crossley, Charlie Spargo, Jack Powell
INT: Nathan Richards, Luke Robertson, Brendan Myers, Harry Simmington, Zac Bailey

Predictions: 

Finishing prediction: 4th – The Allies should be able to beat Western Australia and their tall forwards may cause headaches for other teams if they can win enough ball in the midfield.

MVP prediction: Charlie Spargo – The tough inside midfielder was the Under 16 Alan McLean Medalist, dominating division two back in 2015. Expect him to crack in hard and win the plenty of the ball.

2017 ALLIES SQUAD

No. Name
DOB
HT (cm)
WT (kg)
Club
1 Charlie SPARGO 25/11/1999 173 73 Murray Bushrangers/Albury
2 Jack HARDMAN 31/12/1999 173 67 Swans/UNSW
3 Brodie FOSTER 3/3/1999 178 74 Suns/Surfers Paradise
4 Laine FITZGERALD 16/1/1999 179 78 Bendigo Pioneers/Balranald
5 Zac BAILEY 23/9/1999 180 68 Southern Districts
6 Jack POWELL 15/7/1999 180 75 Giants/Ainslie
7 Sam DAVIDSON 6/5/1999 180 70 Suns/Palm Beach Currumbin
8 Luke SKRIVANIC 8/4/1999 182 74 Swans/Pennant Hills
9 Jacob DAWSON 3/11/1999 182 80 Suns/Palm Beach Currumbin
10 James BELL 10/2/1999 183 75 Swans/UNSW
11 Brendan MYERS 10/2/1999 183 80 Giants/Wagga Tigers
12 Adam SAMBONO 24/4/1997 184 69 Darwin Buffalos
13 Bailey SCOTT 9/7/2000 184 70 Suns/Broadbeach Cats
14 Jack CLAYTON 25/2/1999 184 77 Lions/Wests Juniors
15 Jake BROWN 19/3/1998 185 76 Swans/St George
16 Thomas MUNDY 23/11/1999 185 79 Burnie
17 Jy LANE 21/3/1999 185 78 Murray Bushrangers/Corowa
18 Jake HINDS 7/5/1999 186 78 Launceston
19 Doulton LANGLANDS 29/7/1999 187 80 Murray Bushrangers/North Albury
20 Nicholas HUTCHINSON 21/5/1999 187 80 Hobart City
21 Damien BURKE 21/1/1999 188 83 Suns/Cape York Eagles
22 Tarryn THOMAS 25/3/2000 189 71 North Launceston
23 Luke ROBERTSON 7/5/1998 189 85 Swans/North Shore
24 Kwaby BOAKYE 16/3/1999 188 88 Suns/Broadbeach Cats
25 Harry SIMINGTON 28/3/1999 189 85 Suns/Labrador Tigers
26 Nicholas SHIPLEY 25/6/1999 190 90 Giants/St George
27 Matthew GREEN 5/5/2000 190 67 Sporties Spitfires
28 Harrison CARR 9/2/1998 190 87 Swans/North Shore
29 Michael CARROLL 18/6/1999 191 85 Swans/Pennant Hills
30 Caleb GRAHAM 12/9/2000 192 82 Suns/Palm Beach Currumbin
31 Tom HIGHMORE 24/2/1998 192 82 Giants/Marist
32 Zac BUECHNER** 5/3/1998 192 90 Clarence
33 Jarrod BRANDER 11/2/1999 194 89 Bendigo Pioneers/Wentworth
34 Nicholas BLAKEY 27/2/2000 194 75 Swans/UNSW
35 Hugh DIXON 26/2/1999 195 92 Kingborough Tigers
36 Jack PAYNE 15/10/1999 195 93 Lions/Noosa
37 Alex PAECH 17/6/1999 196 99 Murray Bushrangers/North Albury
38 Connor BALLENDEN 29/3/1999 199 95 Lions/Wests Juniors
39 Brayden CROSSLEY 16/8/1999 198 105 Suns/Labrador Tigers
40 Nathan RICHARDS 11/2/1999 200 102 Giants/Griffith Swans
42 Timakoi BOWIE 4/4/1999 175 80 Suns/Cape York Eagles
43 Jarrod OSBORNE 29/12/1998 180 79 Swans/Manly
44 Ben SLOAN 27/8/1999 189 80 Lions/Mt Gravatt
45 Rodney BAIRD 1/3/1999 192 72 Palmerston
46 Daniel JOHNSTON 1/12/1999 196 97 Murray Bushrangers/Barooga
47 Tony OLANGO 2/9/1998 200 80 St Mary’s
 ** Zac Buechner was a late inclusion for Tasmania Chayce Jones

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