Contributed by: Troy Thompson
The AFL has released the twenty-first intake into Level One of the NAB AFL Academy. Of World Footy interest is the inclusion of 15 year old Hewago "Ace" Paul Oea.
Ace comes to the Academy via PNG's participation in the AFL Queensland development pathway and first came to prominence when he starred in Queensland's U16 team at the recent National carnival. As well as winning the best on ground medal in the recent International Cup grand final, he has recently also been playing senior football for Broadbeach in the AFLQ competition.
The 22 players will receive a NAB AFL Academy scholarship and under the guidance of AFL National Academy Head Coach Luke Power, will come together for accelerated AFL football and personal development camps to be held in Australia and overseas over the next 12 months.
This intake was selected from the NAB AFL Under-16 Championships which recently concluded in Queensland with players aspiring towards the 2019 NAB AFL Draft.
Over two decades, the NAB AFL Academy has produced:
464 players drafted – 81 percent of all NAB AFL Academy players
43 AFL All-Australians (including Dylan Shiel, Josh Kelly, Paddy Ryder, Tom Mitchell, Joe Daniher and Matt Crouch named in 2017)
10 current captains (Travis Boak, Trent Cotchin, Jack Viney, Jarryd Roughead, Shannon Hurn, Jarrad McVeigh, Marc Murphy, Joel Selwood, Steven May & Jack Ziebell)
3 Brownlow Medallists (Chris Judd, Patrick Dangerfield & Adam Cooney)
4 Norm Smith Medallists (Luke Hodge, Chris Judd, Andrew Embley, Cyril Rioli)
7 NAB AFL Rising Stars (Brett Deledio, Joel Selwood, Daniel Rich, Jaeger O’Meara, Lewis Taylor, Jesse Hogan, Callum Mills)
17 of the last 19 years since its inception produced the No. 1 Draft selection
AFL National and International Talent Manager Kevin Sheehan said the NAB AFL Academy has helped promote the code in Ireland, South Africa, Europe, New Zealand and the United States.
“The NAB AFL Academy has also given our best young players the opportunity to play for their country against a variety of opponents,” he said.
“The Academy’s motto is to develop better people and better players. The coaches and mentors involved in the Academy over the two decades have helped shape our future players into becoming stars of the game and great leaders who can succeed on and off the field.
“This is a truly national program that continues to go from strength to strength.
“In addition to the NAB AFL Academy (Level One) group the AFL has introduced a new development list to meet the needs of the AFL industry comprising of taller players aiming to play in the ruck or key positions in the AFL. Eight players have been include in this category.
“All 30 players will attend their first camp in Melbourne in December 2017 where they will receive specialised coaching and personal mentoring aimed at accelerating their development as young people and footballers.”
National Australia Bank’s General Manager Brand and Products Marketing, Michael Nearhos spoke of NAB’s ongoing support of the talent pathway and the important role that the NAB AFL Academy plays in fostering the future of football.
“NAB has partnered with the AFL for well over a decade. During this time we’ve seen the NAB AFL Rising Stars Program shape and support some of the country’s most outstanding young footballers. We’re thrilled that through our support of this program and the NAB AFL Academy in particular, we can continue to play a genuine role in growing the game,” said Mr Nearhos.
“In its 20 years, we have seen many superstars get their start in the NAB AFL Academy. We look forward to hearing the announcement of the Level Two squad later in the year. We congratulate all the young players who will take part in this year’s Level One program and look forward to watching their careers develop,” he continued.
The 2017-18 NAB AFL Academy Squad
NSW/ACT: Liam Delahunty (Coolamon) Josh Rayner (Willoughby/Mossman- Sydney Swans Academy)
Queensland: Connor Budarick (Broadbeach), Hewago Paul Oea ( Papua New Guinea /Port Moresby)
South Australia: Kysaiah Pickett (Woodvill-West Torrens/Port Districts), Dylan Stephens (Norwood/Walkerville), Cameron Taheny (Norwood/Eastern Range)
Vic Country: Sam Flanders (Gippsland Power/Fish Creek), Brodie Kemp (Bendigo Pioneers/Echuca), Caleb Serong (Gippsland Power/Warragul), Cooper Stephens (Geelong Falcons/Colac), Hayden Young (Dandenong Stingrays/Somerville)
Vic Metro: Noah Anderson (Oakleigh Chargers/Boroondara), Emerson Jeka (Western Jets/Altona), Jack Mahoney (Sandringham Dragons/ St Kevin’s College) Fischer McAsey (Sandringham Dragons/East Brighton), Jamieson Rossiter (Eastern Ranges/Rowville/Rowville Sports Academy), Matt Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers/Boroondara), Dylan Williams (Oakleigh Chargers/Surrey Park)
Western Australia: Rhai Arn Cox (East Perth/Mt Lawley), Luke Jackson (East Fremantle/Bullcreek Leeming), Deven Robertson (Perth/Aquinas College)
Jack Buller (Claremont/Christchurch Grammar-WA), Matthew Conroy (Townsville/GCS Academy-Qld), Andrew Courtney (Sandringham Dragons/ Beaumaris-Vic Metro), Anthony Davis (Claremont/Hale -WA) Aaron Gundry (Bendigo Pioneers/Sandhurst-Vic Country), Harry Ireland (Hobart City-Tasmania), Bigoa Nyuon (Dandenong Stingrays/Rowville Sports Academy-Vic Country ), Jeremy O’Sullivan (Calder Cannons/ St Bernard’s- Vic Metro)
The NAB AFL Academy is part of the Rising Star Program, which supports grassroots players and football communities and helps young Australians fulfil their dream of playing in the AFL. The NAB AFL Rising Stars Program comprises the following elements:
• NAB AFL Rising Star
• NAB AFL Draft
• NAB AFL Draft Combine
• NAB AFL Trade Period
• NAB AFL Under-18 Championships
• NAB AFL Academy
• NAB AFL Under-16 Championships
NAB has been supporting footy from grassroots to the elite level since 2002
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