NEW South Wales and Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) sides had a good weekend across the NAB League with Sydney Swans Academy gaining an important win over Murray Bushrangers, and GWS GIANTS Academy narrowly going down to Gippsland Power. The two sides were recognised with a massive combined 14 players in the Draft Central Academy Series Team of the Week for Round 5. For the other three sides, they all suffered disappointing losses with Northern Territory Thunder (four representatives), Brisbane Lions Academy (three) and Gold Coast SUNS Academy (three).
Sydney Swans Academy’s sole win out of the five Academy sides saw Kyle Martin and Aidan Watling named up either end, Hamish Ellem locked into full-forward, Lachlan Swaney on a wing, Max Geddes pushed to a half-back flank after pushing back hard in the victory, and Callum Nash in the ruck. It meant one third of the starting side are Sydney Swans, with a further two – Jacob Dol and Sam Thorne – also making our bench in the Academy Series Team of the Week.
GWS GIANTS might not have won, but they lost no admirers against one of the strongest Victorian sides. Missing Tom Green, the GIANTS battled well throughout the match, with defender Nick Murray holding down centre half-back, midfielders Lachlan Squire and Hamish Grant having terrific games, and Shaun Driscoll and James Peatling in attack. Five of their six representatives are on the field, meaning half of the starting line-up is from the NSW/ACT Academies. Jeromy Lucas was the sixth player from the GIANTS to make the squad.
Of the three teams that suffered big losses, Northern Territory Thunder had four representatives, with Beau O’Connell, Joel Jeffrey and Matthew Cumming among the best, while Ben Jungfer made the team after a strong effort on the inside. Looking east to Queensland, both Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS Academies had three players in our Team of the Week. Tom Griffiths, Will Martyn and Bruce Reville are the Lions’ representatives, while Corey Joyce and Connor Budarick make the team again for Gold Coast, as does Max Pexcud.