FIVE of Albury’s brightest young stars will put their AFL draft credentials on show after being selected in the Allies’ squad.
Zach Sproule, Max Lynch, Will Setterfield, Fletcher Carroll and Charlie Spargo will join fellow Riverina-raised products Ryan Garthwaite (Corowa-Rutherglen), Harrison Macreadie (Henty), Todd Marshall (Deniliquin) and Harry Perryman (Collingullie) competing in division one of the AFL under-18 championships.
In the past, NSW-ACT players have largely been restricted to division two of the championships but, by joining forces with the Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania, they will get the opportunity to showcase their skill against traditional football states Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
AFL talent manager Kevin Sheehan, who helped select the squad, expected the Allies to provide stiff competition when their campaign kicks off against South Australia at AAMI Stadium on Saturday, June 4.
“It’s a natural evolution for the national championships to have the Allies in for four games,” he said.
“It’s a great opportunity for that combined team, it’s the best of the best and they will love it.
“There is no doubt it will prove a great measuring stick for the AFL clubs as they weigh up draft prospects later in the year.
“In the past, kids may have been judged harshly because they’ve played in one-sided games but this should be a very, very competitive side and it may well start favourite to win it.
“This is a terrific group of young men.”
Setterfield, who was raised in Albury but moved to Melbourne two years ago to attend Caulfield Grammar, and Henty premiership player Macreadie have been touted as possible first-round draft selections.
“This is an extremely talented group of young men that have been given an opportunity to represent the Allies,” Allies coach Tadgh Kennelly said.
“It’s a team with a senior State Of Origin history playing against the likes of Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia that has seen former greats such as Matthew Richardson, Nathan Buckley and Andrew McLeod pull on the same jumper.
“It’s an exciting and brilliant concept that allows all players to be evaluated by AFL club recruiting staff on an even playing field.”