Under 18 Championships Preview: Allies

THE ALLIES are in their second year of a relatively new Under 18 Championship concept bringing together the best players from the Under 18 Academy Series (Previously the division two championships) to play against the division one teams.

2016 saw top ten draftees Will Setterfield (GWS Giants) and Jack Bowes (Gold Coast Suns) run out for the Allies, playing against division one sides South Australia, Western Australia, Vic Country and Vic Metro.

Last year saw the Allies bookmarked as favourites by some for the title – but struggled coming together just before the championships started, finding it hard to play as a team. This year; a camp as a group and two trial games in the lead up to the division one carnival will hopefully allow the players to adjust to their new teammates and gel as a group.

While the squad on the forefront isn’t as strong as last year, the Allies are expected to put up a fight throughout the carnival.

Greater Western Sydney’s academy has the most members of any division two side, with 12 players included, followed by Gold Coast Academy (10) and Sydney Academy (nine). Northern Territory (seven), Tasmania (six) and Brisbane Lions (four) round out the other division two sides.

Among those named are first round prospects Jarrod Brander and Charlie Spargo (GWS), both of whom were ruled ineligible to be drafted by GWS through the academy system and placed on the open market. Connor Ballenden (Brisbane) is another pegged as a first round talent as one of the best key forwards in the draft.

The squad also includes two father-son prospects for the 2018 draft with Bailey Scott (Gold Coast) who is also eligible for father/son at Geelong and North Melbourne, and Nick Blakey (Sydney – also eligible for father/son at North Melbourne and Brisbane).

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7DHu5Xb0zzg[/embedyt]

Players to watch: 

Zac Bailey – Was one of the standouts for the Allies in their trial game against Vic Country – collecting 18 disposals, laying eight tackles and had five clearances. His work inside the contest is very good despite his small frame. Has enough speed to burst from the stoppages and can hit the scoreboard.

Connor Ballenden – The Brisbane Lions Academy member is a strong contested marking forward who plays well out of the goalsquare. Will likely provide some chop out in the ruck for Brayden Crossley and Nathan Richards throughout the carnival. Has a very fluid set shot routine and kicks more goals than he misses.

Jarrod Brander – Brander is a key position tall that can play at either end. His mobility is very good and he reads the flight of the ball well in the air. Has been kicking goals for Geelong Grammar at school football – but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him play at centre half back in the Under 18 Championships for the Allies.

Jack Powell – The GWS Academy member is a good two-way runner and is a clean ball user on his right foot. Spreads well from the contest and did some good things in the NAB AFL Academy game at the MCG. Had 16 disposals in the midfield for the Allies in their practice game against Vic Metro.

Charlie Spargo – Small bite-sized midfielder who cracks in hard despite standing at 175cm. Wins the contested ball and is willing to tackle hard to get the ball back. Played for the Allies in 2016, with a strong effort manning Vic Metro’s MVP Andrew McGrath at Etihad Stadium – collecting 15 disposals and laying six tackles.

2018 names to keep an eye on:

Bailey Scott – Good decision maker with ball in hand and wins the ball on both the inside and outside. Marks well overhead and was impressive for Gold Coast in the Under 18 Academy Series. Had 12 disposals and took four marks in the Allies’ trial game against Vic Country. Father-Son prospect to Geelong and North Melbourne, as well as being eligible for Gold Coast through their academy.

Nick Blakey – One of the leading players for the 2018 draft. Not only can play as a tall, but has the ability to push up into the midfield. Moves well and kicks it nicely on his left foot. Likely to play up forward for the Allies. Sydney Swans Academy member and father-son prospect to North Melbourne and Brisbane Lions.

Tarryn Thomas – Starred for Tasmania last year in the Under 18 Championships as an Under 16 player. Had some outstanding moments in the trial game against Vic Metro collecting 17 disposals, showing off his speed across half forward. Had very good vision and awareness to switch the ball deep inside 50 to find a free teammate at the top of the goalsquare. Is part of North Melbourne’s Next-Generation Academy.


Round 1: v VIC COUNTRY – June 11th 12.30pm Blacktown
Round 2: v SOUTH AUSTRALIA – June 17th 10.10am Adelaide Oval (FOX FOOTY)
Round 3: v WESTERN AUSTRALIA – June 25th 12.30pm Leederville Oval
Round 4: BYE
Round 5: v VIC METRO – July 5th 2.10pm Simonds Stadium (FOX FOOTY)

Possible Round One team: 

B: Jake Hinds, Jack Payne, Kwaby Boakye
HB: Tom Highmore, Jarrod Brander, Jack Clayton
C: Brodie Foster, Nicholas Shipley, Sam Davidson
HF: James Bell, Nick Blakey, Tarryn Thomas
F: Hugh Dixon, Connor Ballenden, Jack Hardman

FOLL: Brayden Crossley, Charlie Spargo, Jack Powell
INT: Nathan Richards, Luke Robertson, Brendan Myers, Harry Simmington, Zac Bailey


Finishing prediction: 4th – The Allies should be able to beat Western Australia and their tall forwards may cause headaches for other teams if they can win enough ball in the midfield.

MVP prediction: Charlie Spargo – The tough inside midfielder was the Under 16 Alan McLean Medalist, dominating division two back in 2015. Expect him to crack in hard and win the plenty of the ball.


HT (cm)
WT (kg)
1Charlie SPARGO25/11/199917373Murray Bushrangers/Albury
2Jack HARDMAN31/12/199917367Swans/UNSW
3Brodie FOSTER3/3/199917874Suns/Surfers Paradise
4Laine FITZGERALD16/1/199917978Bendigo Pioneers/Balranald
5Zac BAILEY23/9/199918068Southern Districts
6Jack POWELL15/7/199918075Giants/Ainslie
7Sam DAVIDSON6/5/199918070Suns/Palm Beach Currumbin
8Luke SKRIVANIC8/4/199918274Swans/Pennant Hills
9Jacob DAWSON3/11/199918280Suns/Palm Beach Currumbin
10James BELL10/2/199918375Swans/UNSW
11Brendan MYERS10/2/199918380Giants/Wagga Tigers
12Adam SAMBONO24/4/199718469Darwin Buffalos
13Bailey SCOTT9/7/200018470Suns/Broadbeach Cats
14Jack CLAYTON25/2/199918477Lions/Wests Juniors
15Jake BROWN19/3/199818576Swans/St George
16Thomas MUNDY23/11/199918579Burnie
17Jy LANE21/3/199918578Murray Bushrangers/Corowa
18Jake HINDS7/5/199918678Launceston
19Doulton LANGLANDS29/7/199918780Murray Bushrangers/North Albury
20Nicholas HUTCHINSON21/5/199918780Hobart City
21Damien BURKE21/1/199918883Suns/Cape York Eagles
22Tarryn THOMAS25/3/200018971North Launceston
23Luke ROBERTSON7/5/199818985Swans/North Shore
24Kwaby BOAKYE16/3/199918888Suns/Broadbeach Cats
25Harry SIMINGTON28/3/199918985Suns/Labrador Tigers
26Nicholas SHIPLEY25/6/199919090Giants/St George
27Matthew GREEN5/5/200019067Sporties Spitfires
28Harrison CARR9/2/199819087Swans/North Shore
29Michael CARROLL18/6/199919185Swans/Pennant Hills
30Caleb GRAHAM12/9/200019282Suns/Palm Beach Currumbin
31Tom HIGHMORE24/2/199819282Giants/Marist
32Zac BUECHNER**5/3/199819290Clarence
33Jarrod BRANDER11/2/199919489Bendigo Pioneers/Wentworth
34Nicholas BLAKEY27/2/200019475Swans/UNSW
35Hugh DIXON26/2/199919592Kingborough Tigers
36Jack PAYNE15/10/199919593Lions/Noosa
37Alex PAECH17/6/199919699Murray Bushrangers/North Albury
38Connor BALLENDEN29/3/199919995Lions/Wests Juniors
39Brayden CROSSLEY16/8/1999198105Suns/Labrador Tigers
40Nathan RICHARDS11/2/1999200102Giants/Griffith Swans
42Timakoi BOWIE4/4/199917580Suns/Cape York Eagles
43Jarrod OSBORNE29/12/199818079Swans/Manly
44Ben SLOAN27/8/199918980Lions/Mt Gravatt
45Rodney BAIRD1/3/199919272Palmerston
46Daniel JOHNSTON1/12/199919697Murray Bushrangers/Barooga
47Tony OLANGO2/9/199820080St Mary’s
 ** Zac Buechner was a late inclusion for Tasmania Chayce Jones

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