GEORGE Wardlaw showed his credentials as one of the leading pick No.1 contenders in this year's draft, with the midfielder named the NAB AFL Academy's best player in its loss to Collingwood's VFL side on Saturday.
The Oakleigh Chargers midfielder had 18 disposals and eight tackles in the Academy's 22-point loss at Frankston Oval in the annual contest for the country's elite draft talent.
His power around the stoppages, toughness and explosive streak was on show particularly in the second half, which included a strong high mark that showed his aerial prowess.
Fellow No.1 chance Will Ashcroft was also prominent throughout for the Academy, with the Brisbane father-son prospect gathering a team-high 24 disposals and also spending time playing across the forward and backline.
The Academy kept within touching distance of the Magpies side, which had a number of AFL-listed players in it, but ultimately was defeated 10.6 (67) to 6.9 (45).
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Given the high number of players in the Academy side and more rotations as well as flat 25-minute quarters the possession tallies were comparatively low, but the likes of Elijah Tsatas (17 disposals, one goal), Jhye Clark (19 disposals, six tackles), Ollie Hollands (19 disposals) and Jedd Busslinger (four marks) all showed promising signs, while Bombers Next Generation Academy talent Anthony Munkara was also exciting and booted one goal.
Jaspa Fletcher, who is tied to Brisbane as the son of former player Adrian, had 12 disposals and kicked a goal in a promising display under Academy coach Tarkyn Lockyer.
Magpies midfielder Callum Brown was Collingwood's best with 30 disposals, while Isaac Chugg (17 disposals), Finlay Macrae (15) and Harvey Harrison (13) were also among the ball-getters.