The 2017 McDonald’s SA Under-18 Squad has been released ahead of this year’s AFL National Championships in June and July.
Featuring 46 players from all eight non-AFL aligned SANFL clubs, the McDonald’s SA U18 Squad will begin training on Monday May 15 ahead of lead-up matches against Tasmania U18 (May 20 at Football Park) and North Adelaide U18/Reserves (May 26 at Football Park).
Speaking on SANFL Radio, SANFL High Performance Manager Brenton Phillips said the overall profile of the list was significant in terms of size and versatility in comparison to previous seasons.
Five players boast experience at Macca’s League level, with Sturt’s Mitch Crowden and Glenelg’s Alex Martini featuring in all of their teams matches this season.
Star Bays utility Darcy Fogarty made his debut on Saturday while West’s Izak Rankine is a nominee for the Round 4 Powerade Star Search award after racking up four goals and 24 disposals against North.
Norwood’s Lachlan Pascoe, who has been playing in the Redlegs’ Reserves, played three Macca’s League matches in 2016.
All five Level 2 AFL Academy members have been chosen, including Fogarty, Jordan Houlahan, Callum Coleman-Jones (Sturt) and Thomas Schmusch and Andrew McPherson (Eagles).
As many as seven of SA’s Level 1 AFL Academy players have also been included to gain valuable experience for next year’s campaign, including Rankine, Connor Rozee (North), Jack Lukosius (Eagles), Luke Valente (Norwood), Hugo Munn (Sturt), Ruben Flinn (Glenelg) and Jackson Hately (Central).
Interestingly, the McDonald’s SA Under-18 Squad also has four father-son players including Pascoe (Andrew Pascoe), Jackson Edwards (Tyson Edwards), Jake Weidemann (Wayne Weidemann) and James Rowe (Stephen Rowe).
South Australia will play four games in the AFL Under-18 National Championships, with only one match on home soil to be played against the Allies at Adelaide Oval as a curtain-raiser to the Port Adelaide v Brisbane match on Saturday June 17.
After playing three matches at Football Park last year, the Croweaters will hit the road for three other encounters against WA (Domain Stadium), Victoria Metro (Etihad Stadium) and Victoria Country (Simonds Stadium).
2017 AFL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Saturday June 10
Game 1 – SA v WA (Domain Stadium)
Saturday June 17
Game 2 – SA v Allies (Adelaide Oval)
Friday June 30
Game 3 – SA v Victoria Metro (Etihad Stadium)
Wednesday July 5
Game 4 – SA v Victoria Country (Simonds Stadium)