WITH both Queensland AFL sides watching finals action from beyond the fence, all eyes are on the next generation of stars set to grace the hallowed MCG turf, as well as all of the off-field post season action which comes into effect shortly.
Queensland prospects to play at the ‘Big Dance’
On Tuesday, the teams for the Under 17 Futures game were announced. Included amongst the two teams are some talented Queensland prospects who will strut their stuff before they’re eligible for the 2019 draft.
The two teams have been named after recently-retired AFL stars Nick Riewoldt and Jimmy Bartel.
Gold Coast Academy’s Connor Budarick is the sole Queensland representative on Team Riewoldt while Team Bartel will feature Hewago Paul Oea (Gold Coast Academy), and Will Martyn (Brisbane Academy).
Oea or ‘Ace’ is an exciting Papua New Guinea prospect that joined the Suns Academy earlier this year on a two year international scholarship. ‘Ace’ who began his journey with strong performances representing PNG in the Under 16 Queensland State Championships in 2017, and went on to play for Queensland in the national championships before being selected as the first PNG player to be part of the NAB AFL Academy.
The hype around Budarick is already substantial due to his proven ability to dominate games at the senior QAFL level. Along with teammate Oea, Budarick is one of only two players from his age level in Queensland to be selected in the National Academy, back in 2017.
Martyn, from the Brisbane Academy has had a strong year at the state level. This includes two best on ground performances – one against Vic Country where he kicked two goals late in the contest to almost power Queensland over the line, and the other against state rivals NSW/ACT back in July where Martyn really dominated, grabbing 30 touches and laying 10 tackles.
The Under-17s ‘Futures’ game will be broadcast live from 10am on Grand Final day, and will be streamed on afl.com.au and the AFL Live Official App.
Lynch makes his choice
The race for free agent Tom Lynch is over with the Gold Coast Suns captain making his decision to go to Richmond. It is understood both Hawthorn and Collingwood have been told they have missed out on the most wanted out of contract player this off-season.
No official announcement on where he wants to sign is expected to be made until after the finals, or after Richmond have finished in the finals, which is likely to be one and the same thing with the top of the ladder Tigers expected to make the grand final.
AFL Queensland finals fever
Finals fever has hit Queensland AFL right now with grand finals decided across various divisions, as well as other competitors squarely in their finals campaigns. For more information head to the AFL Queensland website for a wrap of the whole state’s finals landscape.