AFLNT is proud to have Zac Bailey and Adam Sambono selected for this year’s NAB AFL Draft Combine.
The dynamic duo is the two NT representatives on the list of 80 Draft hopefuls, down from the 90-100 that have tested in previous years.
Seventeen-year-old Bailey who attends school in Adelaide is an inside midfielder who averaged 17 disposals, four tackles and three clearances per game when playing for the Allies in the recent NAB AFL Under 18 Championships.
His burst from the centre bounce to win the final clearance in the last few minutes of the game against Vic Metro is what set up the Allies’ unexpected win and what cemented his prospects.
Bailey was subsequently given All-Australian Under 18 honours.
He played for the Southern Districts Under 18 team in the NTFL last season and has also played six games over the past two years for the Under 18 Norwood side in the SANFL.
Sambono is the excitement machine from the Daly River region who propelled onto the NTFL stage in season 2015/16 when he joined the Darwin Buffaloes and went on to win the NTFL Rising Star.,
He kicked 10 goals when the Buffaloes played the Tiwi Bombers during the 2016/17 season and marked his intentions to play for NT Thunder in the NEAFL then and there.
The 20-year-old’s first possession for NT Thunder set the tone, when he intercepted an opponent’s kick while standing on the mark, dodged the player to run inside 50 and snap his first goal. He finished the game with 16 disposals, five marks and 6.4 on the scoreboard.
Sambono was duly awarded the NEAFL Round 1 Rising Star nomination, was noticed by the football world and invited to play Allies.
He played the last two games of the Under 18 Championships and looked more dangerous than his two-goal tally may indicate.
AFLNT High-Performance Manager Wally Gallio said the selections were well deserved off the back of the boys’ hard work.
“Zac’s performance through the Academy Series and Allies Series was very consistent and to have it topped off with an All-Australian selection, and now an invite to Draft Combine is not surprising.
“He approaches his football with professionalism and a willingness to win the contested ball and tackle hard,” Gallio said.
On Sambono, Gallio said there was no predicting just how good he could be.
“When it comes to Adam, the sky’s the limit. He is an exciting player to watch with the talent to match and put in a solid performance against Vic Metro in that last Allies game to earn him this spot at testing.”
Gallio also said he was hopeful more NT representatives would be selected for testing at the State Combines but those won’t be known for a few weeks yet.
At Combine, the players will be split into eight groups based on their positions for the four days of testing, which will include two groups of medium midfielders and, for the first time in recent years, separate groups of tall forwards and ruckmen.