The academy’s motto is to develop better people and better playersKevin Sheehan
THREE of the Border and North East’s brightest young talents have received AFL Academy scholarships.
Albury's Charlie Spargo, Wodonga’s Hudson Garoni and CDHBU’s Matt Walker are part of the 56-man group, which is the AFL’s 20th intake of the academy.
Spargo is a level two member of the academy, which includes the best 30 players from across Australia who are eligible for next year’s AFL draft.
Garoni and Walker, who has played a handful of matches for GWS in the NEAFL, are level one members have been selected after strong performances at the national under-16 championships.
Former Geelong defender and Adelaide Crows coach Brenton Sanderson will take charge of the group for a series of football and personal development camps to be held in Australia and overseas over the next 12 months.
Spargo, the son of legendary Albury coach Paul, has been widely touted as a first-round draft selection next year.
In a boost for Garoni and Walker’s prospects, 81 per cent of all academy players have gone on to be drafted by an AFL club over the past 20 years.
“The academy has also given our best young players the opportunity to play for their country against a variety of opponents,” AFL national and international talent manager Kevin Sheehan 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.”
Meanwhile, Wodonga’s Isaac Wallace and Albury’s Lachie Tiziani have been invited to attend the draft combine.
Wallace and Tiziani join Bushrangers teammates Louis Pinnuck and James Cousins in earning a call-up to the skill and fitness testing at Etihad Stadium in October.
“We have a strong AFL culture throughout our entire region with our local clubs continuing to provide a platform for young footballers across our region,” Bushrangers talent manager Lee Fraser said.
Wallace is working his way back to full fitness after breaking a leg earlier in the season and was among the Bushrangers’ best players in their impressive come-from-behind win against Sandringham last weekend.
Tiziani was knocked out in the second quarter of the win over the Dragons but is expected to be fit to take on ladder-leader Dandenong after the bye in Melbourne on August 13.