Time to shine for draft hopefuls
Callum Twomey and Kevin 'Shifter' Sheehan preview what's going to be an exciting 2013 NAB AFL Under 18 Championships
James Aish will line up for South Australia this weekend after recovering from shoulder surgery
JAMES Aish is set to play his first game since shoulder surgery last year as South Australia starts its NAB AFL Under-18 Championships on Saturday.
Aish, projected to be an early choice at this year's draft, is expected to line up for his state's opening game of the national carnival against NSW-ACT at Blacktown International Sportspark.Click here for full U18s coverage
The 17-year-old had a shoulder reconstruction in December last year having carried the injury through the season, including during his starring role in Norwood's SANFL premiership campaign.
South Australia's coach Brenton Phillips said the talented wingman needed to get through training on Wednesday night but was likely to be a part of the near full-strength side.
"His training loads have been good the whole way through in terms of his capacity to run, and he's picked up his competitive drills in the last two weeks," Phillips said.
Aish worked meticulously through his rehabilitation from surgery, including gradually building up his weights program on the AIS-AFL Academy's tour of Europe, and told AFL.com.au
in April he felt fitter than at the same stage of last year.
While Vic Country and Vic Metro last week opened the championships missing many of their highly touted teenagers, South Australia will pick its best side.
"We probably bat a bit deep so there's a few mixtures we can take but nobody will be left behind for an injury. We'll be picking a near-on full-strength side for the game," Phillips said.
Glenelg's Matt Scharenberg has been a standout for South Australia in its trial games, with the 192cm utility likely to play a number of roles throughout the championships.
Trent Dumont has been impressing away from the trials, with the sturdy midfielder playing at senior level for Norwood.
"We haven't seen him with us yet purely because he has been playing League football with Norwood and we haven't interrupted that, so we'll definitely take him to Sydney," Phillips said.
"I've been really impressed by his composure at senior level. He's really taken to it and hasn't looked out of place out there."
Vic Metro and South Australia are favoured to battle it out for the division one title this season, and Phillips nominated Cameron Giles, Jake Pitt and James Battersby as emerging draft hopefuls to watch.
"Giles is a 195cm running defender who can also move forward and Pitt is a tall (192cm) running player who can play key position but we'll probably use more as an outside player," Phillips said.
"Battersby has played some League football with Sturt, and he's really jumped up. He's a midfielder who uses the ball really well."
Follow AFL website reporter Callum Twomey on Twitter at @AFL_CalTwomey.