Six SA connections shine on the big stage

West Adelaide's Will Patton was entrusted with the kick-in duties for the Australian U18 Academy against Port on Saturday evening. Picture - Peter Argent


Played as a curtain-closer to the inaugural AFL match at the Summit Recreational Park in Mount Barker, the Australian Under 18 Academy team had four South Australians participating, along with two having a meaningful connection to SANFL football.

The four SA boys selected included Glenelg’s Ashton Moir, West Adelaide tall defender Will Patton, Kane McAuliffe from North Adelaide and South Adelaide’s spring-heeled talent Jack Delean, who tackled Port Adelaide’s SANFL team.

In a physical encounter, where no quarter was given, the Magpies won by 13 points – 10.10 (70) to 8.9 (57)

Patton, playing on big and taller opponents including Ollie Lord and Brynn Teakle, battled strongly all game along with being charged with kick-out duties.

Composed when under pressure, he also showed his durability, quickly getting up and returning to the contest after a crushing tackle from Port Adelaide’s Jake Weidemann in the third quarter.

Strong-bodied midfielder McAuliffe and wing/half forward Delean were among a raft of on-ball rotations, both having their moments.

Moir was used as a lead-up forward and suffered from modest delivery in the slippery conditions, caused by a significant shower leading into the contest. He still worked well defensively and applied plenty of pressure.

North Adelaide’s Kane McAuliffe handballs out of traffic for the Australian U18 Academy team. Picture – Peter Argent

“The game was similar in intensity to the three SANFL League trials I played at the start of the year,” Bloods talent Will Patton told SANFL.com.au

“The ground was in good, but the rain made conditions a little slippery.

“It was special to put an Australian jumper for the first time, and run out onto the ground with the boys.

“It (the rain) came down pretty hard in the last term and Port got up by a few goals in the end.”

Also playing with the Australian Academy team were Orlando Turner from South Alice Springs and Tasmanian talent Jack Callinan.

Turner, who was a member of South’s Senior Colts premiership side last September, is currently a student at Rostrevor College, who is playing with Norwood in the Torrens University SANFL Under 18s.

Callinan is the son of Central District four-time premiership star and 2010 Jack Oatey Medallist Ian, who hails from Clarence in Hobart and is playing for the Tassie Devils. He kicked one of the Academy’s eight goals.

The AFL Academy Boys will take part in their third camp in Melbourne from May 11-14, along with playing a game against Carlton’s VFL team.

Glenelg’s Ashton Moir (right) tackles Port star Lachie Jones. Picture – Peter Argent

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