After a competitive showing at this year’s Under 18 Academy Series, four NT Thunder players have been chosen for the national Allies squad and will vie for the opportunity to play against the next crop of AFL draftees, while also putting themselves in contention for a spot on an AFL list.
Rodney Baird, Matthew Green, Michael Mummery and Izaak Wyatt will travel to Melbourne next week to play in practice games before the NAB AFL Under 18 National Championship takes place in June and July.
Green and Mummery, both part of the current crop of NAB AFL Academy Level 2 participants still had to put in strong performances during the Series to secure their spots, while Baird and Wyatt were consistently impressive in the NT’s games.
AFLNT Manager of Talent and Pathways, Wally Gallio said Allies selectors made up of AFL staff Luke Power, Kevin Sheehan and Marcus Ashcroft, as well as five AFL club recruiting managers selected the NT boys along with 46 other talented players.
“It puts our boys in a squad of 50 talented players, and next week they will split the Allies squad in half with one side to play Vic Metro and the other to play Vic Country.
“Playing for the Allies means they get the opportunity to play in a side that has a lot of depth and versatility and they will also be challenged by the best in their age group,” he said.
NT Thunder Academy coach Jimmy Driscoll will once again fulfil line coach duties for the Allies, with Gallio overseeing the team’s bench and rotations, and an NT Thunder strength and conditioning resource to travel with the team during the national carnival over the next couple of months.
The Allies will be in competition against Vic Metro, Vic Country, South Australia and Western Australia for the division one title.
Under 18 NT Thunder players selected for the 2018 Allies squad:
Gallio on Baird: “Rodney Baird has been consistent the whole Academy Series and deservedly won the most valuable player award for the Northern Territory this year. His interceptive marking and the way he ran the ball, as well as the way he acted like a general for the team and led by example was inspirational at times. On Saturday night he pushed his case for selection when he ended up with 20-odd possessions again and his disposal efficiency was at 85 percent.”
Club: Sporties Spitfires
Gallio on Green: “Greeny played across halfback and then we played him as an inside mid and he also played outside on a wing. His poise and ability to use the ball was really impressive and that’s what really attracted the AFL clubs and the other selectors of the Allies to him.”
Gallio on Mummery: “Michael started forward then played inside mid and his last three games of the Series was probably where he stood out. He was really good against Sydney in Alice Springs but on Saturday night against the Brisbane Lions he showed that he can play forward and through the midfield, his defensive work was also very exciting.”
Position: Small forward
Club: Southern Districts
Gallio on Wyatt: “Izaak Wyatt, everyone thinks he’s a bit of a surprise packet but he’s shown over the last couple of years that he’s been a late developer. I think his footy changed when he played NTFL Premier League for Southern Districts under Shannon Rusca and was used as a small defensive forward. On Saturday night, he kicked a couple of nice goals and his defensive pressure was outstanding and that’s what put him in the fray.”