Jake Rogers in action for the Allies during the 202 U18 AFL Boys Championships. Photo by Albert Perez/AFL Photos

JAKE Rogers is small in stature but has proved time and again at the highest level he's big on skill and even bigger on production.

Whether playing for the Gold Coast Academy, the Allies under-18s or the AFL Academy, Rogers has shown right through 2023 he belongs with the best juniors in the country.

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Standing 170cm tall, the 18-year-old has a work ethic that could drive him into the first round of the draft.

This season alone the agile midfielder/half-forward has averaged 25 touches and six tackles for the Suns Academy, 22 and five for the national championship-winning Allies and was best on ground for the AFL Academy against Carlton's VFL team.

"I set some goals in the pre-season and playing consistent footy at the highest levels was my main target," Rogers told AFL.com.au.

"I look back and think I ticked those off, which I was pretty happy with.

"My games at the highest levels, for me, summed up my year, in terms of playing consistently."

Jake Rogers with his best on ground medal after the AFL Academy match against Carlton VFL at Marvel Stadium on May 13, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Rogers is one of Academy graduates projected to go to the Suns, alongside Jed Walter, Ethan Read and Will Graham.

After moving to the Coast from Melbourne as a five-year-old, Rogers immediately took up Auskick, and with his Collingwood-mad family in tow, he was destined to play Australian Rules.

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With the Suns entering the AFL not long after he moved north, he would eventually be identified by the club's Academy as a 13-year-old.

And despite proving himself to be a fine rugby league full-back at high school – Rogers played at representative level for South Coast – he was destined to end up with a Sherrin.

He said the Academy had been a huge help.

"Just the opportunity it gives us," he said. "It's a great stepping stone into the AFL.

"A few years ago, no-one was doing AFL pre-seasons with the Suns and this year we've had that opportunity … it really set us up for a strong year and showed us the level and intensity AFL brings."


Perhaps one of the greatest lessons Rogers learned during his draft year was the workrate required to get to the top level.

It was something he hoped would complement his speed, clean hands and excellent footwork.

Rogers watched extensive footage of two of the game's best - Coaches Association MVP Zak Butters and dynamic Richmond utility Shai Bolton.

"Those players are a similar smaller type, really agile, pretty quick players that play a midfield, small forward role," he said.

"The Academy has given me some areas to improve and things to work on and for me that was my contest running, getting to more contests, so watching vision of their running off-ball, how they get to the ball, how they distribute it.

"Watching all angles, behind the goals, I've been really fortunate to do a lot of vision of those two players and how they go about it."

Jake Rogers in action during the 2023 AFL National Championships match between South Australia and the Allies at Thebarton Oval on June 4, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

If the Suns get anything that remotely resembles either Butters or Bolton in Rogers, they'd be over the moon, but regardless, they can be assured to land a player driven to maximise his ability once he's officially on Damien Hardwick's list.