Some of Queensland’s top talents showed their stuff in last weekend’s NEAFL Northern Conference final.
Some of Queensland’s top youngsters were thrown into the heat of the NEAFL Northern Conference final last weekend, showing their potential.
Brisbane fielded seven state under-18 players in the grand final, giving the rising stars a valuable taste of finals footy.
Morningside’s Darcy Cameron-Reeves, a bottom-ager at only 17, stood out for the Lions against the hornets, running through the midfield.
Cameron- Reeves has played 10 games as a top-up for the Lions in the NEAFL this season, gaining valuable experience ahead of his draft year next year.
His Panthers teammate, Bill Pendlebury, was another member of the Lions Northern conference premiership, playing in his seventh game for the back-to-back champions.
Hayden Bertoli-Simmonds completed a Morningside trifecta in Sunday’s match, producing another solid performance for the Lions on the weekend.
UQ’s Lewis Radford continued a solid backend of the season, playing on the wing for the Lions in the premiership match.
Maroochydore bottom-aged pair, Cameron Stevenson and Daniel Henderson also had the chance to show their talents in the grand final.
Draft prospect, Archie Smith, continued a super first season of AFL with a conference final berth, sharing the ruck load with Billy Longer against Aspley.
Lions reserves coach, Leigh Harding, said the top-up players had become an increasingly important part of the side as the season progressed, particularly during the side’s finals campaign.
“The Academy kids over the last two games have been very good,” he said.
“We’re obviously not expecting them to be standouts but we just want them to play their role and put their best foot forward.
“Darcy Cameron-Reeves impressed, especially given he’s only a 17 year-old kid and he’s a bottom-agers…but the other boys definitely been very good.”
It’s not just the Lions who were showcasing young talent on the weekend, with Aspley’s Isaac Conway having a sensational opening half in their loss.
Conway, sporting a much leaner framer than earlier in the season, was a standout for the Hornets through the midfield early, before the Lions kicked away in the third quarter.
The 18 year-old, who captained the Queensland Under-18 side this year, played 16 games in the NEAFL Northern Conference, seven for Aspley and eight or the Lions, after being a member of the Lions’ premiership side last year as well.
The Lions are likely to include more top-ups against the Swans this weekend, due to list changes announced this week.