By ZAC MILBANK
SANFL has released its 30-player squad for the South Australian Hub of the 2020 AFL Academy.
Set to be guided by SANFL’s Talent Department headed by Brenton Phillips and Tony Bamford, the talented teenagers will undertake their first camp in late November-early December, with an indigenous cultural experience the focus of the journey to Port Augusta and Wilpena Pound.
Camp 2 will be held in the last week of January with Immanuel College as the base while also tasting life as a full-time professional footballer at the two South Australian AFL clubs.
The squad will then prepare to represent the Torrens University SA U18 team at the AFL National Championships next June and July by tackling Western Australia in a trial match in Perth during mid-April.
Speaking on SANFL Radio, Torrens University SA Under-18 coach Bamford encouraged players who have missed out on the initial squad to continue persisting as more players will be added for the clash with the Sandgropers.
Bamford, who praised the SANFL clubs’ talent identification and development programs, cited Woodville-West Torrens midfielder Harry Schoenberg as an excellent example of persistence.
After missing out on initial selection in the AFL Academy SA Hub last year, Schoenberg fought his way into the team for the AFL National Championships before earning South Australia’s U18 MVP award and an appearance at the AFL Combine in Melbourne.
Two players have already made their Statewide Super League debut, with Central District’s Corey Durdin and West Adelaide’s Riley Thilthorpe displaying their talent against men in 2019 despite being aged just 17.
Father-son prospects Taj Schofield (Port Adelaide/father Jarrad) and Luke Edwards (Adelaide/father Tyson) are on the radar of the Power and Crows, with Edwards showing promising signs as an underage player at this year’s AFL U18 National Championships.
Strong-marking Glenelg forward Kaine Baldwin will be nurtured as he continues his recovery from a knee reconstruction earlier this year while giant Eagle Henry Smith looms as a ruck option given he already measures in at 202cm.
Torrens University SA U16 captain Jason Horne heads a contingent of underage players, including fellow Panther Matthew Roberts and exciting Central District prospect Isaiah Dudley.
Photo credit: Peter Argent
|Lachlan Jones||Woodville-West Torrens||184cm||85kg|
|Zac Phillips||Woodville-West Torrens||198cm||76kg|
|Caleb Poulter||Woodville-West Torrens||191cm||74kg|
|Taj Schofield||Woodville-West Torrens||177cm||74kg|
|Henry Smith||Woodville-West Torrens||202cm||82kg|