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Best juniors to open Grand Final day

CLUBS will have a final chance to assess the talent available from the northern market academies in the NAB AFL All Stars match at the MCG on Saturday.

Sydney Swans academy star Isaac Heeney heads a group of possible zoned priority selections picked to represent the Allies in the Grand Final curtain raiser.

They include Brisbane Lions academy prospects Liam Dawson, Harris Andrews and Matt Hammelmann, and Jack Steele and Jeremy Finlayson from the Greater Western Sydney academy.

While the Swans will be forced to use their first draft selection to acquire the hard and skillful Heeney, they may also look to recruit fellow academy players Abe Davis and Jack Hiscox, who have been picked in the Allies team.

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The Allies squad is made up of 2014 draft eligible players from the division two state teams; New South Wales-ACT, Queensland, Tasmania and Northern Territory.

The Allies' clash with the Australian under-17 team on Saturday will take place just over a week before the father-son and academy bidding meeting is held on October 6.

Midfielder Lachie Weller, a likely first-round draft pick, will also play for the Allies, but the Gold Coast does not get priority access to him as he has not lived in the region for long enough to qualify as a northern market academy selection.

Coached by NSW-ACT's Jason Saddington, the Allies will face the NAB AFL Academy level two squad, which comprises the country's most talented teenagers eligible for the 2015 draft.

Midfielders Callum Mills and Rhys Mathieson have already shown themselves to be among the best-credentialed players leading into their draft season, while the versatile Jacob Weitering, tall forward Josh Schache and speedy Callum Ah Chee are others who have impressed.

"It's a brilliant opportunity the AFL's given us to showcase some of the best players in Australia," national talent manager Kevin Sheehan said.

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"For some, their moment's now, the bidding system's around the corner and clubs are keen to get a handle on many of those players.

"And for the best boys in the nation to come together and play as the Australian under-17 side is something that the kids really treasure."

Sydney Swans father-son prospect Josh Dunkley and Sam Weideman, the grandson of Collingwood champion Murray, are likely to line up in attack for the Academy.  

Ben Crocker, Keiran Agius and Charlie Curnow, the younger brother of Carlton's Ed, will make their respective debuts for the Academy having recently been added to the prestigious program.

Darcy Parish (ankle), Darcy Tucker (ankle) and Ryan Burton (leg) – who have all shown enough to be viewed among the top players of the 2015 crop – will miss with injury.   

The game will be streamed live on AFL.com.au on Saturday from 9.55am AEST ahead of the Sydney Swans and Hawthorn Grand Final.

ALLIES TEAM
B:   Michael Mattingly (NSW-ACT)    Logan Austin (NSW-ACT)        Harris Andrews (QLD)
HB: Josh McGuinness (TAS)            Abe Davis (NSW-ACT)             Liam Dawson (QLD)
C:   Lachie Weller (QLD)                  Tim Jones (TAS)                        Jack Hiscox (NSW-ACT)
HF: Nakia Cockatoo (NT)                 Jeremy Finlayson (NSW-ACT)   Braydon Hodgson (NSW-ACT)
F:   Matthew Uebergang (QLD)        Matthew Hammelmann (QLD)   Jack Steele (NSW-ACT)
R:   Braydon Preuss (QLD)               Isaac Heeney (NSW-ACT)         Caleb Hislop (TAS)
I/C: Josh Watts (TAS) Nick Jackson (QLD) Jordan Foote (NSW-ACT) Dougal Howard (NSW-ACT) Nick Coughlan (NSW-ACT)
Coach: Jason Saddington

NAB AFL ACADEMY (U17 AUSTRALIAN TEAM)
B:   Thomas Cole (VIC C)   Sam Skinner (VIC C)        Stephen Tahana (SA)
HB: Greg Clark (WA)          Jacob Weitering (VIC C)   Aaron Francis (SA)
C:   Callum Ah Chee (WA)  Rhys Mathieson (VIC C)   James Parsons (VIC M)
HF: Ben Keays (QLD)         Sam Weideman (VIC M)   Harley Balic (VIC M)
F:   Josh Dunkley (VIC C)   Josh Schache (VIC C)       Luke Partington (SA)
R:  Tim Sullivan (SA)           Callum Mills (NSW-ACT)   Nick O'Kearney (VIC M)
I/C: Kieran Collins (VIC C)   Liam Jeffs (VIC M)     Jake Sushames (TAS)    Kade Stewart (WA)    Ben Crocker (VIC M)    Keiran Agius (SA)    Aidyn Johnson (VIC C)    Dylan McDonald (NSW-ACT)   Jordan Snaddon (WA)   Yestin Eades (WA) Charlie Curnow (VIC C)
Coach: Brad Johnson