The AFL has today announced the 2023 AFL National Championships U18 Boys All-Australian Team.
The Allies have eight representatives named in the team after producing an unbeaten run through their four matches to win the title for the first time.
The Allies, comprising players from the ACT, New South Wales, Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania, had never previously won more than one of their four matches since the current Championships format was introduced in 2016, which sees the Allies, South Australia, Victoria Country, Victoria Metro and Western Australia play each other once.
Larke Medal winner Ryley Sanders was named captain of the All-Australian team after leading the Allies to the title. Sanders claimed the Best and Fairest award after a dominant campaign where he averaged 35.5 disposals and one goal a game.
Hunter Harrison Medal winner Ethan Read was also selected in the All-Australian team. The Hunter Harrison Medal is presented to the best player in the Academy Series, which involves non-Victorian Academy teams competing in the Coates Talent League.
Read amassed 80 disposals, 24 marks and 78 hitouts in four matches for the Gold Coast Suns Academy in the Coates Talent League and was a key contributor for the Allies at the Championships.
The Hunter Harrison Medal was first won by Michael Voss in 1992. Brisbane Lions midfielder Jaspa Fletcher won the award last year, with past winners also including Isaac Heeney, Nick Blakey and Toby Nankervis.
Each of the team MVP winners were selected in the All-Australian team, namely Daniel Curtin (Western Australia), Sid Draper (South Australia), Oliver Murphy (Victoria Metro), Connor O’Sullivan (Allies) and Harley Reid (Victoria Country).
Reid and Allies forward Jed Walter both earned selection for the second-consecutive year after being included as bottom-age players in 2022. Reid was named at full forward after last year being selected on the half back flank, while Walter retained his position at centre half forward.
The 2023 AFL National Championships U18 Boys All-Australian Team features 20 draft-eligible players, along with three bottom-aged players in Levi Ashcroft, Sid Draper and Finn O’Sullivan who will be eligible for the 2024 AFL Draft.
The 2023 AFL National Championships U18 Boys All-Australian Team was selected by a panel comprising Kevin Sheehan (AFL Talent Ambassador – Chair), Tarkyn Lockyer (AFL National Academy Coach/Manager) and AFL recruiters Adrian Caruso (GWS GIANTS), Kade Nanscawen (Gold Coast SUNS), David McMullin (Fremantle) and Stephen Wells (Geelong Cats).
The AFL National Championships – U18 Boys are the highest level of state and territory representative football featuring the country’s most talented under 18 boys footballers.
The Championships were played across Australia throughout June and July, with the Allies claiming the title with a 4-0 record. Victoria Country and Victoria Metro each won two matches, while South Australia and Western Australia both claimed one win from their four matches.
Please find below player profiles for all players selected in the 2023 AFL National Championships U18 Boys All-Australian Team, compiled by Kevin Sheehan.
(South Australia/West Adelaide/Mitcham)
Date of Birth: 04/01/05; Height 193cm
Composed defender who captained his state at the Championships. Showed he can play on taller or smaller opponents to great effect. A left footer, he used the ball exceptionally well by hand and foot setting up the play from the back half. Averaged 17 disposals at 89.7 per cent efficiency, 4.8 marks and 5.5 rebound 50s, with his intercepting ability another of his assets.
Date of Birth: 19/05/05; Height: 198cm
Athletic tall defender who had an outstanding Championships to lead an almost impassible Allies defensive unit and provide great rebound for his team. Has excellent closing speed, is great overhead and rarely fumbles. Averaged 17.8 disposals at 86 per cent efficiency, as well as 8.2 marks in winning the Allies’ MVP award in their first Championships-winning team.
(Victoria Metro/Sandringham Dragons/East Brighton Vampires)
Date of Birth: 16/09/05; Height: 200cm
Left-footed tall defender who showed real composure with the ball in hand and was strong overhead in averaging 11.2 disposals at 78 per cent efficiency, 4.5 marks and four rebound-50s as he blossomed in a relative new role as a defender. A very capable decision-maker in one-on-one contests on when to mark or spoil. He was rewarded for his performances by winning Victoria Metro’s MVP award.
Half Back Flank
(Western Australia/Swan Districts/Caversham)
Date of Birth: 27/02/05; Height: 185cm
Speedy defender who showed his strength overhead as well as his penetrating left foot in setting up his team from the back half. Captained his state and showed calmness under pressure as he averaged 18.5 disposals and 5.8 marks per game to be one of Western Australia’s best across the Championships.
Centre Half Back
(Western Australia/ Claremont/West Coast)
Date of Birth: 08/03/05; Height: 195cm
Left-footed defender who showed his versatility to play impressive football both in defence and through the midfield for Western Australia. An excellent decision-maker and precise user of the ball by both hand and foot, he was ultra consistent averaging 23.5 disposals at 84 per cent efficiency and 6.5 marks. Took out Western Australia’s MVP and finished fourth in the Larke Medal for the best and fairest player overall.
Half Back Flank
(Victoria Metro/Sandringham Dragons/Hampton Rovers)
Date of Birth: 18/11/05; Height: 182cm
Medium defender who is a fine intercept player. Uses his anticipation and clean ball-handling to great effect and rebounds with his dynamic left foot. Showed speed and good decision-making ability in setting up the play for his Victoria Metro. Averaged 20.8 disposals and 3.8 marks to be one of his team’s most consistent performers.
(Allies/Gold Coast Suns Academy/Broadbeach)
Date of Birth: 02/03/05; Height: 170cm
Tenacious small midfielder whose clean hands at ground level together with his vision and creativity consistently set up the Allies through the middle of the ground. Quick and with elite agility. he was always in the contest. Averaged 22.5 disposals at 77 per cent efficiency, 5.5 clearances and 5.2 tackles to be a driving force for the title-winning team.
(Allies/Sandringham Dragons/North Launceston)
Date of Birth: 21/01/05; Height: 186cm
Strong-bodied midfielder who is both powerful and courageous in his attack on the ball and pressure he exerts on the opposition in contests. His strong two-way running was another feature of his game as he dominated the Championships, averaging 35 disposals at 80 per cent efficiency, with 14.5 contested possessions, five clearances and four tackles to win the Larke Medal as the best and fairest. Selected as captain of the All-Australian team.
Date of Birth: 12/04/05; Height: 182cm
Medium midfielder who played both on the inside and outside. Used his dazzling speed to break the lines and used the ball with pinpoint accuracy on his preferred left foot. Averaged 32.8 disposals and 5.8 clearances across the four matches to impose himself on each game. Also kicked two vital goals on the run to ensure victory in the Allies’ final match against Victoria Country. Finished runner-up in the Larke Medal voting behind Allies teammate Ryley Sanders.
Half Forward Flank
(South Australia/South Adelaide/Willunga)
Date of Birth: 05/07/06; Height: 180cm
Powerful midfielder/forward with dazzling speed and an elite work rate which enables him to get to lots of contests and influence the play. A bottom-aged player, he was a real shining light for South Australia, averaging 24.8 disposals, 12 contested possessions and 3.8 tackles per game. Was in his side’s best players in all four matches and won South Australia’s MVP award.
Centre Half Forward
(Allies/Gold Coast Suns Academy/Palm Beach Currumbin)
Date of Birth: 08/06/05; Height: 195cm
A powerful and athletic tall forward with a real appetite for the contest. His attack on the ball both in the air and at ground level was imposing. Was a threatening target up forward throughout the Championships, averaging 13 disposals and seven marks per match and kicked 11 goals to be a vital cog in the Allies team. Is now a dual All-Australian at under 18s level.
Half Forward Flank
(Western Australia/East Fremantle/ Applecross Mt Pleasant)
Date of Birth: 19/01/05; Height: 176cm
Lightning quick small forward/midfielder who wins his own ball, is slippery in traffic and a prodigious kick, which makes him dangerous around goals. A consistent performer throughout the Championships, he has the ability to read the game and find space and is clean with his hands in gathering and delivering. Averaged 17.8 disposals, 9.2 contested possessions and 1.5 goals per match.
(Victoria Country/Gippsland Power/Foster)
Date of Birth: 28/08/05; Height: 189cm
A mercurial forward who was particularly outstanding in Victoria Country’s final match, where he amassed 22 disposals, 10 marks and kicked four goals in a match-winning display against Victoria Metro. Has all the ingredients of a dangerous forward. Reads the game extremely well, is a one-touch player and has natural goal sense. Averaged 15.2 disposals and 1.8 goals to be consistent threat to the opposition.
(Victoria Country/Bendigo Pioneers/Tongala)
Date of Birth: 17/04/05; Height: 185cm
Exciting and versatile player who opened the Championships with three goals in the first five minutes of Victoria Country’s clash against South Australia. Confirmed his ability to impact the game whether forward, midfield or down back, as he did last year in winning All-Australian honours on the half back flank. Starred throughout the Championships playing in the midfield and changing forward, with his ability to win the contested ball at ground level or overhead among his many weapons. An excellent decision-maker and user of the ball by hand or foot, he averaged 19.5 disposals, 12.5 contested possessions and 6.5 clearances. Finished third in the Larke Medal voting won Victoria Country’s MVP to further add to his very impressive record.
(Victoria Metro/Eastern Ranges/East Ringwood)
Date of Birth: 24/02/05; Height: 170cm
Crafty small forward who is almost impossible to contain with his speed, lateral movement and vertical leap. Add to this his innate goal sense and long kicking. He was always dangerous up forward for Victoria Metro and topped the goal kicking with 14 majors across four matches, while also averaging 12.2 disposals per game.
(Allies/Gold Coast Suns Academy/Palm Beach Currumbin)
Date of Birth: 07/07/05; Height: 200cm
Mobile and highly-skilled ruckman whose work rate and ball use were outstanding features of his game, along with his aggressive work at stoppages. Used his elite running capacity to be a dangerous marking target and used his foot skills to create opportunities for his team. Had a massive impact on all four games, averaging 21.5 disposals at 76 per cent efficiency, 7.5 marks and 13 hitouts to play important role in the Allies’ title win. Was awarded the Hunter Harrison Medal for his performances during the Academy series as a lead in to Allies selection.
(Western Australia/Peel Thunder/Harvey Brunswick Leschenault)
Date of Birth:12/05/05; Height:188cm
Prolific ball-winning midfielder who used the ball effectively on his preferred left foot and excelled at stoppages with his clean hands and vision. Averaged 27.2 disposals, 11 contested possessions, six clearances and five tackles to be consistently amongst Western Australia’s best performers.
(Allies/Sydney Swans Academy/Sydney University)
Date of Birth: 05/03/05; Height: 182cm
Midfielder whose ferocious attack on the ball and his opponent helped set the scene for the Allies to dominated the midfield battle throughout the Championships. Showed excellent speed and courage as well as clean hands, playing both on the inside and outside. Averaged 29.2 disposals, 11.2 contested possessions and laid a team-high average of 6.8 tackles. Also showed a preparedness to work hard to run and support teammates, demonstrated by an average of 12.5 handball receives across four matches.
(Victoria Metro/Sandringham Dragons/Old Brighton Grammarians)
Date of Birth: 18/12/06; Height: 179cm
Bottom-aged midfielder who was consistently in the action in his three games, where he averaged 26.7 disposals at 75 per cent efficiency. Used his footy nous and clean hands to create for his team. Ashcroft’s efforts were made more outstanding when taking into account he was one of the youngest players to play in the Championships and won’t turn 17 until December. Has an elite work rate which helps his team to outnumber the opposition and is an excellent decision-maker with ball in hand.
(Victoria Metro/Northern Knights/Northcote)
Date of Birth: 08/09/05; Height: 204cm
Developing ruckman who impressed with his ruck craft, marking and mobility in covering the ground. Holds his ground very well under the ball in stoppages and marking contests and often provided opportunities for his teammates at ground level. Averaged 12 disposals, 24 hitouts and three tackles which indicated his preparedness to pressure the opposition.
Date of Birth: 02/10/05; Height: 188cm
Medium defender who was one of the real success stories of the Championships after being included for the opening game at the last opportunity. Consolidated his position and was resolute down back throughout the Championships, with his intercept marking and dash features of his play. Averaged 16.2 disposals and five marks as the Allies defence set up a unit most couldn’t penetrate.
(Victoria Country/Oakleigh Chargers/Koroit)
Date of Birth: 30/05/06; Height: 181cm
Classy midfielder and another bottom-aged player who stepped up in his three games for Victoria Country. Provided real drive for his team, with his elite use of the ball and speed through the midfield outstanding assets. Had 20 disposals in each his team’s wins over Western Australia and Victoria Metro to be one of the better players afield using his undoubted speed and endurance combination to great effect.
(Victoria Country/GWV Rebels/South Warrnambool)
Date of Birth: 14/04/05; Height: 189cm
Strong-bodied midfielder/defender who is a wonderful penetrating kick. Consistently set up play for Victoria Metro throughout the Championships, averaging 19.2 disposals with an even split between contested and uncontested ball. Also averaged 6.2 tackles and 3.8 clearances, indications of his one-on-one capabilities and his ferocious attack on the ball and the opposition.
Players by team
Allies: (8) Caiden Cleary, James Leake, Colby McKercher, Connor O’Sullivan, Ethan Read, Jake Rogers, Ryley Sanders, Jed Walter
Victoria Metro: (5) Levi Ashcroft, William Green, Oliver Murphy, Archie Roberts, Nicholas Watson
Victoria Country: (4) Zane Duursma, Finn O’Sullivan, Harley Reid, George Stevens
Western Australia: (4) Daniel Curtin, Riley Hardeman, Clay Hall, Koen Sanchez
South Australia: (2) Sid Draper, William Patton
Please click here to see all results and replays from all matches in the 2023 AFL National Championships – U18 Boys.