BLG QUINTET IN ACADEMY MATCH
By Peter Argent
Five aspiring talents from Barossa, Light and Gawler football continued the rich history from the district at state under-age level.
Joseph Brown, Jordan Furnell, Joel Foster, Nathan Casboult and Connor McLean, continue in the footsteps of the likes of Central District league premiership players Shannon Hurn, Brad Symes, Jay Nash and many others.
Brown, who spent all of 2013 playing in the Bulldogs reserves under former South Gawler and Freeling coach Jeff Brown, starred in the annual SANFL under 18 academy match, which culminated this successful program on Saturday, February 15.
Along with other teenage leading football prospects South Australia has to offer for the 2014 draft, six up-and-coming Central District talents went through their paces in front of recruiting staff from all 18 AFL clubs at Max Basheer Oval and AFL talent manager Kevin Sheehan, in what is seen as the traditional start to the season.
In what was a close and physical game in windy conditions, the “Blue” combination won by 10 points.
“While we had eight players on the sidelines, the game showcased that we have a good breadth of talent to work with,” SANFL under 18 coach and talent manager Brenton Phillips explained.
“There will be plenty of ball-winning and creative mid-fielders looking for spots at the national championships.
“Joie Brown won a lot of ball and used it constructively, and was high among the Blue team’s best in the contest.
“Nathan (Casboult) produced a couple of acts of shear brilliance and knows how to get to where the ball is.
“Connor McLean looked a lot more comfortable when moved to defence and gave plenty of dash from there in the second half. Jordan (Furnell) and Joel (Foster)) had their moments as well.”
This year the under 18s competition is restructured with a home and away clash against each division one team – Victoria Metro and Country, along with Western Australia.
For 2014 the requirements are to use a minimum of 32 players over the six games and each participant has to play at least two matches.
There is also some good all-round sporting talent among the Bulldogs lads, as Brown is a former SA Redbacks under 15s quick bowler and McLean, after making a century for the SA under 19s, is currently in the national under 18 Australian cricket squad.