The last round of the Under 18 Academy Series will take place in Darwin this weekend as the NT Thunder boys play the Brisbane Lions Academy at 6pm on Saturday night.
After three competitive rounds to start the Series, the team’s Round 4 performance is one they’d soon rather forget and have been working hard on the training track this past week to ensure they put in a good showing for the final game.
Unfortunately, the team will be without speedy duo Liam Holt-Fitz and Malcolm Rosas, who have both been in great form during the Series. Holt-Fitz is being managed for slight swelling to his previously injured leg, while Rosas broke his finger in the game against Gold Coast last weekend.
After 12 months away from footy and coming back to play three games, Katherine’s Robbie Campbell will be rested, while Central Australian Shawn Foster is sidelined with an infection.
The changes have made way for Joel Budarick to play his fourth game of the Series and to put his elite athleticism and ability to read the play on display one more.
Standing at 202 centimetres, Alex Emmett from Alice Springs will get his first opportunity this year at the national level, while bottom-age player Ben Jungfer will add some inside grunt and Izaak Wyatt is ready to show his “x-factor”.
Coach Jimmy Driscoll said tomorrow night presented the ideal opportunity for the players to get the reward for the effort they had put in over the past few months.
“The Lions had a convincing win last week and will come here to Darwin with confidence, but this is the last game of the Academy Series, and we want to finish on a positive.
“We need to execute and finish the Series showing what we’re capable of and displaying the intention that we have spoken about and know we have. There’s no better time do it than at home in front of family and friends,” he said.
Entry to the game tomorrow night is free and via the Bonson Gate.
Under 18 Academy Series – Round 5
NT Thunder vs Brisbane Lions Academy
6pm ACST Saturday 12 May
TIO Stadium, Darwin
B: Joel Stevens, Rodney Baird, Dominic Forbes
HB: Joel Budarick, Marcus Valastro, Deacon Braun
C: Matthew Green. Michael Mummery, Beau O’Connell
HF: Dillen Brown, Matthew Cumming, James Box
F: Leonard Ferreira, Alex Emmett, Izaak Wyatt
FOLL: Stephen Cumming, Beau Schwarze, Ben Jungfer
INT: Tyson Kidney, Jack Palmer, Mitchell Pemberton, Jeffrey Simon, Marly McGregor, Louis Kossack, Coen Hutt