NAB AFL U18 Championships - All Australians

By: Kevin Sheehan, exclusive to afl.com.au

After lengthy debate throughout the week and looking at 12 matches, the selectors decided that it would be appropriate to name, for the first time, the NAB AFL under-18 All-Australian side in position and that's what we've endeavoured to achieve.

We've attempted to give balance and recognition to players that played terrific roles in defence, as well as players who were creative up forward, so it's not just a midfielders' side. It recognises players across the ground for their performance they put in throughout this week.

One of the difficulties for players is playing three matches in eight days and at different times, players had to be rested to ensure they got up later that game or for the next match, so there were very few that dominated the four quarters over three games.

Certainly Vic Metro captain Marc Murphy did dominate and he was a worthy winner of the Larke Medal - he played three outstanding games over the week. Andrew Swallow, who was the runner-up in the medal, was also another who led his side magnificently.

So that's the side and it is debatable - as it always is - because of the nature of the championship. Here it is...

2005 NAB AFL Under-18 All-Australian Team:

B: Xavier Ellis (Vic Country), Austin Lucy (Queensland), Shannon Hurn (South Australia) HB: Darren Pfeiffer (South Australia), Paul Bower (Western Australia), Joel Selwood (Vic Country) C: Jace Bode (South Australia), Andrew Swallow (Western Australia), Grant Birchall (Tasmania) HF: Beau Dowler (Vic Country), Cleve Hughes (South Australia), Dale Thomas (Vic Country) F: Leroy Jetta (Western Australia), Ben McKinley (Vic Metro), Josh Kennedy (Western Australia) FOLL: Patrick Ryder (Western Australia), Marc Murphy (Vic Metro), Nathan Jones (Vic Metro) I/C: Todd Grima (Tasmania), Sam Lonergan (Tasmania), Wayde Mills (Queensland), Gavin Urquhart (Queensland)

Coach: David Dickson (Vic Metro) Assistant Coach: Hamish Ogilvie (Tasmania)

Selectors: Kevin Sheehan (AFL Talent Manager), Alan McConnell (AIS-AFL High Performance Coach), James Fantasia (Adelaide Recruiting Manager), Kinnear Beatson (Brisbane Lions Recruiting Manager), Neville Stibbard (Kangaroos Recruiting Manager), Francis Jackson (Richmond Recruiting Officer)

2005 NAB AFL Under-18 All-Australian Team:

Xavier Ellis (Vic Country) - 17 years, 187cm, 73kg, Gippsland Power/Lakes Entrance Medium midfielder/defender who played mostly on the wing. Carries the ball well, good finisher, who averaged 22 possessions. Accurate left foot kick and excellent decision-maker. AIS-AFL Academy graduate who was named Australia's best under-17 player in the three test series against Ireland this year. Attends Melbourne Grammar.

Austin Lucy (Queensland) - 17 years, 193cm, 91kg, Caloundra Tall defender who shows terrific dash from defence. Super competitive player with rugby union background. Excellent in high standard final match against Tasmania. Averaged 14 possessions per match from full-back.

Shannon Hurn (South Australia) - 17 years, 188cm, 92kg, Central District/Angaston Medium defender/midfielder with terrific hands, penetrating kick and fine leader. Member of South Australian Redbacks cricket squad. Played very well in final match against Vic Metro with 24 possessions and 10 marks. AIS-AFL Academy in 2004.

Darren Pfeiffer (South Australia) - 17 years, 183cm, 78kg, Norwood/Birdwood Medium defender who is a high possession winner and covers a terrific amount of ground. Strong marking player who debuted at senior level with Norwood this year. South Australia's best player against Western Australia and had 21 possessions in the convincing win over Vic Country in game one.

Paul Bower (Western Australia) - 17 years, 192cm, 87kg, Peel Thunder/North Mandurah Tall defender who is extremely mobile and provided great run from defence during the championships. Leading possession winner for his team in win against South Australia and again among Western Australia's best in impressive victory over Vic Country.

Joel Selwood (Vic Country) - 17 years, 181cm, 73kg, Bendigo Pioneers/Sandhurst Medium midfielder/defender who is outstanding in contested situations and is a fine leader. Had game high 26 disposals in Vic Country loss to Vic Metro. Won Ron Barassis Medal as Australia's best player against Ireland at under-17 level earlier this year when he captained Australia.

Jace Bode (South Australia) - 17 years, 186cm, 84kg, Sturt/Kenilworth Medium midfielder who was South Australia's leading possession winner against Vic Country and Western Australia averaging 21 disposals. Works hard to win the ball and runs well to link up. Among his side's best few players in games against Vic Country and Western Australia.

Andrew Swallow (Western Australia) - 18 years, 183cm, 75kg, East Fremantle/Rossmoyne Medium midfielder with terrific work rate and attack on the ball. Captained Western Australia to championship success in NAB AFL under 16 championships in 2003. He was Western Australia's under-18 captain in this year's championships. Was in team's best few players against Vic Metro and South Australia - leading from the front. AIS-AFL Academy graduate in 2004.

Grant Birchall (Tasmania) - 18 years, 191cm, 80kg, Devonport Tall midfielder/defender who is a long left-foot kick and high possession winner. Averaged 22 possessions over the three games, excelling in last quarter of deciding match against Queensland, helping his team to the title. AIS-AFL Academy in 2005.

Beau Dowler (Vic Metro) - 17 years, 192cm, 82kg, Oakleigh Chargers/Noble Park Tall forward who is an excellent mark on the lead and accurate kick at goal. Excelled against Western Australia, taking four contested marks and kicked four goals. AIS-AFL Academy graduate.

Cleve Hughes (South Australia) - 18 years, 193cm, 85kg, Norwood/Loberthal Tall forward with terrific natural talent, clean hands and a good kick at goal. Was impressive with three goals in South Australia's 51-point win over Vic Country and among team's best players when defeated by Western Australia in game two.

Dale Thomas (Vic Country) - 18 years, 182cm, 76kg, Gippsland Power/Drouin Medium forward who can go midfield or back. Creative, courageous player who had 19 disposals against Western Australia in game three, putting him among his team's best.

Leroy Jetta (Western Australia) - 16 years, 176cm, 76kg, South Fremantle Small forward with electrifying pace and agility and clever near goal. Tackles well, keeping the ball in the forward line for his team. AIS-AFL Academy graduate this year.

Ben McKinley (Vic Metro) - 18 years, 184cm, 80kg, Northern Knights/Old Ivanhoe Medium forward with outstanding hands and very accurate kick for goal. Had outstanding championships kicking six goals against South Australia and five goals against Vic Country, winning Vic Metro most valuable player award.

Josh Kennedy (Western Australia) -17 years, 193cm, 93kg, East Fremantle/Northhampton Tall forward with excellent work rate and contested marking ability. Reads game well and presents well up forward. AIS-AFL Academy in 2004.

Patrick Ryder (Western Australia) - 17 years, 194cm, 89kg, East Fremantle/Rovers Tall forward/ruckman with agility and strong hands. Excellent at stoppages and a dangerous forward. AIS-AFL Academy program this year, coming from Geraldton in country Western Australia.

Marc Murphy (Vic Metro) - 17 years, 178cm, 75kg, Oakleigh Chargers/Doncaster Small midfielder/forward who is super competitive and creative and smart around goals. Captained the Vic Metro team successfully, winning best on ground honours against Western Australia in game one and averaged 21 disposals in the championships. AIS-AFL Academy graduate this year. Son of John Murphy, ex-Fitzroy, Swans and Kangaroos star player.

Nathan Jones (Vic Metro) - 17 years, 178cm, 83kg, Dandenong Stingrays/Mt Eliza Small inside midfielder with great running capacity, attack on the ball and depth in his kicking. Prolific ball-winner, averaging 20-plus for the three games - including game high 27 possessions in Vic Metro's 27-point win over Western Australia.

Todd Grima (Tasmania) - 18 years, 193cm, 88kg, Northern Bombers/Tassie Mariners Tall forward who kicked 14 goals for the championships - including 10 goals against Northern Territory in game one - showing great skills on both feet. Had limited preparation due to ankle injury but provided important target for his team up forward.

Sam Lonergan (Tasmania) - 18 years, 181cm, 78kg, Lauderdale/Tassie Mariners Medium inside midfielder who is excellent at stoppages and in heavy traffic. Captained Tasmania to division two title and excelled in final game against Queensland with 27 disposals and nine clearances.

Wayde Mills (Queensland) - 17 years, 194cm, 88kg, Southport Tall defender who led his team extremely well with strong physical presence and strong attack on the ball. Moved from Lennox Heads in northern New South Wales to live in a caravan in Brisbane to further his football.

Gavin Urquhart (Queensland) - 17 years, 181cm, 80kg, Morningside Medium midfielder/defender who is a long penetrating kick and hard at the football. Carries the ball very well and is versatile. Spent time developing his football in Toowoomba and Rockhampton before moving to Brisbane. High possession winner.


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