By ZAC MILBANK
The Torrens University SA U18 team is set to begin its 2023 AFL National Championships campaign with a strong line-up named to host the Allies at Thebarton Oval on Sunday.
All four AFL Academy members – captain Will Patton, vice-captain Ashton Moir, Jack Delean and Kane McAuliffe – feature in the 26-player squad.
The Croweaters’ ruck stocks appear deep with Norwood’s Alex Van Wyk set to have first crack in the middle with South’s Taylor Goad named to start in attack.
Emerging underage Eagles ruck Tom Luck is one of eight players listed on the extended interchange bench, together with Bulldogs key forward Liam Fawcett.
Delean and Moir won’t hold back at anything in the air inside attacking 50m while talented Eagle Patrick Weckert is another to keep an eye on for SA forward of centre.
Patton will lead the back six for the Croweaters, with the West Adelaide defender a likely candidate to take the kick-ins having performed this role for the AFL Academy outfit.
In the coach’s box, Tony Bamford will again be assisted by Chris Smelt, Gavin Hughes, Ben Nelson and Jack Hannath while newly-appointed SANFL Pathways Player & Coach Developer Heath Younie and former Port Adelaide SANFL mentor Matt Lokan also join the team in 2023.
South Australia will host Victoria Metro (June 11) at Thebarton Oval before hitting the road for contests against Victoria Country (June 18) in Melbourne and Western Australia (June 24) in Perth to round out its campaign.
Sunday June 4
Game 1 2023 AFL U18 National Championships
South Australia v Allies at Thebarton Oval from 11am
F: Jack Delean, Taylor Goad, Patrick Weckert
HF: Loch Rawlinson, Ashton Moir, Jed Dignan
C: Trent Tattoli, Anders McShane, Luca Slade
HB: Callum Fairall, Will McCabe, Logan Evans
B: Will Patton, Oscar Talbot, Alex Holt
R: Alex Van Wyk, Tom Wheaton, Kane McAuliffe
INT: Liam Fawcett, Declan Gladigau, Patrick Toole, Tom Luck, Seb Wauer, Bodie Ryan, Kade Herbert, Sid Draper