The hard work of Joel Jeffrey, Ben Jungfer and Malcolm Rosas in representing NT Thunder at national level and backed up with strong performances in NTFL over the past 12 months has earned each of them a coveted spot in the expanded NAB AFL Academy Program for the upcoming year.
The three young Territorians will join a squad of 30 players in the Allies Academy, which includes some of Australia’s best young football talent from New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, Tasmania and Queensland, along with the Northern Territory.
In total, there are 150 players coming into their draft year in 2019 and 2020 who will be engaged in high performance hubs conducted across five talent regions; Vic Country, Vic Metro, South Australia, Western Australia and Allies.
Three-time AFL premiership player Luke Power will coach the Allies squad will coach the squad which is made up of 20 top age players and 10 bottom age players.
Jungfer (Waratah) and Rosas (Darwin Buffaloes) have been selected as 17-year-olds/top age players, with Jungfer earmarked as an inside midfielder and Rosas a small utility, while Jeffrey (Wanderers) earned selection as a 16-year-old or bottom age player and identified as a marking forward.
AFLNT Talent and Pathways Manager Wally Gallio said it’s a great opportunity for the NT boys.
“These guys have been identified as some of the best talent in the country and will be exposed to a terrific program, it’s justified reward for all their hard work.
“They all showed great attributes and Allies coach Luke Power said he was really impressed with how they worked the ball inside a contest, and their kicking and hand skills were on par with players who have made it.
“They’re all really good in traffic which is what caught their eye, and with Joel particularly for his age and his size with his marking ability,” Gallio said.
The Academy members will do an induction in the coming weeks before their first training camp at an AFL Club from1 to 14 December.
The NT boys will train with both the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns.
There will also be a high performance camp in Canberra from 20 to 25 January and An Allies selection camp and practice match in Melbourne against Vic Country from 23 to 26 May.
AFL Head of Talent Tristan Salter said it is an exciting time ahead.
“The new approach to the national Academy will ensure more of our most talented players have access to AFL facilities, while receiving the best quality coaching, high performance and wellbeing services in the country,” he said.
“Importantly these players will spend more time in their home state, with year-round first-class support that will enhance their opportunity to perform at an elite level through the NAB AFL Under-18 Championships.
“I congratulate all who have been named in squads today and I look forward to watching their development over the next 12-24 months.”
The best Under-17 and Under-18 players from the state academies will also have the opportunity to attend national camps. This will be overseen by Marcus Ashcroft and Luke Power. These activities include:
December 2018 Under-17 Futures Game players to spend a week at an AFL club
April 2019 Best 25 Under-18 players to represent Australia against VFL opposition
April 2019 Best 25 Under-17 players to represent Australia against New Zealand
September 2019 Under-17 Futures Game – played on Toyota AFL Grand Final Day