|Rd 1 Gold Coast 4.7 (31) def by Brisbane Lions 5.8 (38)||Fankhauser Reserve, Southport||Sat, Mar 25|
|Rd 2 GWS Giants 7.16 (58) def by Gold Coast 12.3 (75)||Blacktown International Sportspark||Sat, Apr 1|
|Rd 3 Sydney Swans 15.11 (101) d Gold Coast Suns 5.5 (35)||Blacktown International Sportspark||Sat, Apr 8|
|Rd 4 Gold Coast Suns 11.11 (77) d Tasmania 9.9 (63)||Fankhauser Reserve, Southport||Sat, Apr 29|
|Rd 5 Gold Coast Suns 17.7 (109) v Northern Territory 4.3 (27)||Broadbeach||Sat, May 6|
Surfers Paradise product Brodie Foster was in everything throughout the series, collecting plenty of disposals and using his natural football ability to read the ball and set up much of the SUNS play. Foster was named the SUNS series MVP for his efforts.
Kwaby Boakye had an interesting series. While he’s listed as a medium defender he’s the type that can play all over the ground, which is what he did at stages. Boakye’s intercept marking was on display in the SUNS’ first game against the Lions, the powerful prospect chopping off much of the Lions exits from defense. Across the series he was a consistent performer, collecting 10 to 15 touches each match.
The SUNS’s first game was also a big one for solid midfielder Jacob Dawson. The hard-nosed ball winner was in and under all day and ended up with 34 possessions to go with 11 tackles. The former Burleigh junior was also impressive against the Northern Territory in round five, winning his share of ball and showing composure with his disposal.
Damien Burke showed off his aerial marking ability during his Academy Series campaign and also kicked some big bags. The promising forward kicked five against the GWS Academy in round two, as well as six against the Northern Territory in round five. Burke is a Cairns, Cape York Eagles export.
Series in a second
A loss first up against the Lions Academy is not the way the SUNS would have liked to open their Under 18 NAB AFL Academy Series campaign, particularly in a game they probably should have won
They turned things around quickly after dropping their first game however, winning three of their remaining four matches. Victories over Tasmania and the GWS Academy stand out as notable wins, in a competition that was largely competitive across the board.
“We took a lot of positives out of it, we played probably 27 or 28 players throughout the games, didn’t get too many injuries and a lot of guys put their names forward as really good players at that level,” said SUNS Academy Manager Jason Torney.
“Pleasingly, there was three or four players we didn’t know a lot about, or we had a potential tick, I guess, against their name rather than actual performance.”
“Some guys that had a really good series, or carnival, were Connor Nutting, who’s a Gold Coast product out of Broadbeach footy club, he played really well down in the backline.
“Timakoi Bowie and Damien Burke who have relocated from Cairns and out of Cape York House, showed that they not only can compete, but can be in the best on the field.”
Torney was also impressed with the performance of MVP winner Brodie Foster.
“(He was) Just a consistent performer on ball and across half back, he would have collected over 20 possessions every game,” said Torney.
“(He) Showed a bit of versatility. He’s only medium height, but has been able to show that he can play half back, on ball and even half forward, or small forward and kick some goals.”
Next stop is preparation for the Under 18 NAB AFL National Championships, for: Brodie Foster, Brayden Crossley, Harry Simmington, Jacob Dawson, Bailey Scott, Sam Davidson, Damien Burke, Timakoi Bowie, Caleb Graham and Kwaby Boakye.
As both the SUNS and Brisbane Lions Academies have stressed, it’s not the end of the year for players not in the Allies squad. Many will get an opportunity to impress at NEAFL level, while others will strut their stuff in the QAFL. There is also the Under 17 State Championships for the squad’s bottom age players.
The National Championships get underway on June 10 and the Allies have their first game at Blacktown International Sportspark on the 11th against Vic Country.
By Sean Melrose