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NAB AFL U18 titles: the Division One guns

AFL YOUTH and high performance co-ordinator Jason McCartney profiles the players to watch in Division One of the NAB AFL Under-18 championships.

Western Australia
David Swallow:
Brother of (North Melbourne's) Andrew, David is just the ultimate professional. He's got a massive work rate and wins a really good mix of contested and uncontested footy. He has great endurance, uses the ball really well and is good in close. Current member of AIS /AFL Academy squad.

Anthony Morabito: Supremely talented and athletic utility who can play forward. Exceptionally skilled and a member of Western Australia's squad at last year's championships. Can do magical things. AIS/AFL Academy graduate.

Brandon Matera: Goal kicking midfielder with speed and classy skills. Extremely clever around the goals. Son of former Eagle Wally Matera and nephew of club greats Peter and Phil.

Kane Lucas: Highly skilled midfielder with strong endurance. Uncanny ability to find time and space to make correct decision. Applies himself extremely well with a desire to learn and improve. AIS/AFL Academy graduate.

Jack Darling:
A 188cm centre half-forward who is beginning to learn his craft as a midfielder. An outstanding competitor, really good one-on-one and has clean hands. He loves the physical contest. Current member of the AIS/AFL Academy squad.

South Australia
Alex Carey:
Midfielder who makes good decisions and demonstrates very neat foot skills. Was in the SA U18 squad last year, but didn't make an appearance at the championships. Also an exceptional junior cricketer. AIS/AFL Academy graduate.

Jack Trengove: Very clever inside midfielder who can play in a variety of positions. Has a tremendous work ethic with and without the football. A quality leader with exceptional smarts.

Hayden Jolly:
Ball-magnet midfielder with good foot skills. Powerful through the legs and clever at stoppages. Current member of AIS/AFL Academy squad.

Matthew Thompson: Hard at it, powerful inside midfielder. Has a strong work-rate and backs himself both in the air and at ground level. Physical player who has a large appetite for the contest. AIS/AFL Academy graduate.

Scott Lycett:  A 201cm ruckman with really good mobility for his size. Strong player with good clean hands who can push forward and be extremely dangerous; exactly what's required of the modern day ruckman. Current member of AIS/AFL Academy squad.

Victoria Country
Allen Christensen:
Prolific ball-winning midfielder who hurts opposition teams on the scoreboard. Wins plenty of contested possessions and is extremely clever around the goals. Best-on-ground for the Geelong Falcons in the opening three rounds of the TAC Cup.

Sean Atley: Smart Murray Bushrangers midfielder who regularly pushes forward. Has exceptional vision and awareness, elite sideways movement and extremely clean hands. With fantastic endurance and speed to match, Atley looks set to play a big role at this year's championships. Current AIS/AFL Academy squad member.

Koby Stevens: Gippsland Power midfielder with a ferocious attack on the ball and player. Stevens is a natural leader with a burning desire to succeed. Wins an abundance of contested possession, is strong overhead and looks set to figure very early in November's NAB AFL Draft. Current AIS/AFL Academy squad member.

John Butcher: Immensely talented key position prospect with the Gippsland Power. At 197cm has great agility, pace and endurance for his size and is rarely beaten in a marking contest. Has clean hands and can play forward, back or even in the ruck. An exceptional talent. AIS/AFL Academy graduate.

Alex Keath: A 196cm Murray Bushrangers forward with outstanding speed for his size. Talented key position prospect with a great work ethic, and doesn't stop presenting. Quality leader who captain the Victorian under-17s cricket team and has been selected in the Australian World Cup under-19s squad. Current AIS/AFL Academy squad member.

Victoria Metro
Tom Scully:
Captain of the TAC Cup's Dandenong Stingrays and potential number one draft pick. Scully is a dominant left-footed inside midfielder, clean on both sides of his body. Incredible aerobic capacity and an appetite for the contest to match. The complete package.  AIS/AFL Academy graduate.

Jordan Gysberts: The 189cm midfielder wins more than his fair share of both contested and uncontested ball, rarely fumbles and uses it extremely well. Gysberts was one of the standout performers in the recent AIS/AFL Academy tour of South Africa.

Steve McCallum: Lightly built midfielder who ranks up possessions at will. One of the key players for the Calder Cannons in the TAC Cup, McCallum has speed, footy smarts and uses the football extremely well.

Tom Hill:
Versatile big man and quality leader. TAC Cup Northern Knights captain who can play in the ruck or at centre half-back. AIS/AFL Academy graduate.

Joshua Toy: A powerfully built half-back flanker who is terrific in one-on-one contests. A creative and attacking player, willing to run and carry. Has a penetrating kick and a fantastic attitude. Won the Ben Mitchell Medal, voted on by his peers as part of the recent AIS/AFL Academy tour to South Africa.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs