Midfield depth and classy goal kicking power are key features of the 42-player McDonald’s SA Under-18 squad which has been trimmed after Sunday’s internal trial match at Thebarton Oval.
With the likes of Macca’s League players Jack Lukosius (Eagles) and Izak Rankine (West) roaming the forward line, the Croweaters will also have Central District’s Jackson Hately and North Adelaide’s Connor Rozee playing through the centre square.
Speaking on SANFL Radio, McDonald’s SA U18 coach Tony Bamford said that while the squad has been reduced by 10 players, there is still the ability to add players who prove their fitness or form leading up to and during the AFL National Championships.
The current list of 42 will form the basis of the McDonald’s SA Under-18 side which will play in four AFL National Championships matches throughout June and July.
The Croweaters will open their campaign against WA at Alberton Oval on Sunday June 3 before getting a priceless chance to play at Adelaide Oval on Sunday June 17 against Victoria Country.
Matches against the Allies in Geelong on Friday June 29 and Victoria Metro at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday July 4 will conclude the campaign.
Bamford also provided an update on Hayden Sampson – the son of Crows premiership wingman Clay Sampson – while also singling out three players for high praise after forcing their way into the squad.
Glenelg defender Seb Schreiber, South utility Reece Milsom and Sturt ruckman James Braidwood were not part of the initial McDonald’s SA U18 Academy which undertook a camp in the city during last December.
Three players – all from South Adelaide – were unable to be selected due to injury – Sam Whitbread (collarbone), Luke Bogle (wrist) and Eamon Wilkinson (knee).
Whitbread and Bogle can still be added later in the campaign once they recover, however, Wilkinson will miss the rest of the season to undergo a knee reconstruction on his ACL.
Crows defender Brodie Smith, also recovering from a knee reconstruction, will be one of the team’s assistant coaches – guiding the defenders while Sturt premiership player Ben Nelson and former Glenelg wingman Ben Kane will also be on the coaching panel with experienced pair Peter Fitzgerald and Chris Smelt.
2018 McDonalds SA U18s Squad
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CHIEF SANFL WRITER