The NT Thunder Under 18 Academy has made three changes to the team to take on Tasmania this Sunday in Melbourne.
Experienced defender, past captain and recent AFL Academy graduate Matthew Green makes his return for the NT, replacing Marly McGregor, who has been named as one of the emergencies.
Brendon Minkulk, who played senior footy with Waratah during the 2018/19 NTFL season, showed he deserved his call-up to the team off the back of a solid intraclub match with the Thunder senior squad in which his pace and clean ball use was a standout. Minkulk comes in for another emergency, Simon Richardson.
The last of the inclusions is Isaac Seden-Kurnoth from the Darwin Buffaloes. Seden-Kurnoth attends boarding school in Adelaide and was named in the best players for Norwood’s Under 18s in its first match last week. His performance comes at the optimal time with Leonard Ferreira sidelined after going out with a reoccurring calf injury.
NT Thunder Under 18s Head Coach, Jason Roe said all three players had earned their spot in the side this weekend.
“Isaac has impressed us with his professional approach to his football and training habits, and we’re sure he will grab the opportunity to play this weekend with both hands.
“Matty Green is an overage player for us but a handy inclusion as he has plenty of experience and has shown great skill playing at this level before.
“And Brendon goes about his footy in the right way, he has a positive attitude which translates to the way he plays,” he said.
Roe said after a slow start in last weekend’s game the coaches and team have made some adjustments.
“It took us a little bit to adapt to the tempo against the Suns, but we had a more positive second half. We went through the post-match review and saw what areas we needed to adjust in; we were beaten on the spread at the contest, trailed our opponents to the ball and were second to the footy, so we made these the key focus area for training during the week.
“Tasmania presents another big opportunity for us this Sunday. They’re a high-possession team, last week they gathered 351 total disposals, of which 140 were contested. They’ve got good inside midfielders and are a talented outfit.
“Our goal is to get off to a good start and to have our boys win their first contest to give them the confidence to carry it on for the full four quarters.
Fans interested in following the team on Sunday can do so through the NAB League app.
NAB League Round 3
NT Thunder vs Tasmania
Sunday 7 April
Holden Centre, Melbourne
B: Braith Hodges, Joel Budarick, Dominic Forbes
HB: Brodie Lake, Shawn Foster, Brandon Rusca
C: Brendon Minkulk, Ben Jungfer, Kynan Kenny
HF: Maurice Rioli (Jnr), Joel Jeffrey, Wade Derksen
F: Michael Cooper, Matthew Cumming, Beau O’Connell
FOLL: Stephen Cumming, Joel Stevens, Isaac Seden-Kurnoth
INT: Ronald Fejo (Jnr), James Box, Jonty Patrick, Matthew Green, Tyson Woods
EMERGENCIES: Luke MacDonald, Marly McGregor, Simon Richardson, Francis Bruce