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Large contingent in SANFL Under 18's Academy Game

Bulldog Academy players  

By Peter Argent


No less than eight Barossa, Light and Gawler talents from the Central District rural zone participated in the 2017 SANFL under 18 academy match in oppressive conditions at Football Park, on Saturday, February 11.

This group of up and coming football talents included Nuriootpa lads Cooper Dahms, Oscar Barnett and Simon Furnell, Kapunda export Brad Matters, Ryan Falkenberg from Tanunda, Trinity College footballer Jackson Hately, along with Willaston lad Harrison Elbrow and Jake Billing from Gawler Central.

Furnell, a 198cm big man, who is the younger brother of Bulldogs league footballer Jordan, was called into the squad after produced an outstanding 15.6 beep test.

His group displayed their respective football talent in front of recruiting staff from all 18 clubs, as a great majority of the class of 2017 draft prospects from SA were on show.
SANFL Talent Manager and Under 18s coach Brenton Phillips said it was one of the best academy games he's seen over the more than a decade since he took charge of this program.

The final score was SA Under 18 Blue 11.5 (71) defeating SA Under 18 Red 10.7 (67) in a contest that had significant momentum swings.

From a statistical perspective Hately was up with the leaders, collecting 23 disposals, while Dahms laid a game high nine tackles, showing his intensity and work rate around the ball.

“From the vision I saw, I though Jackson had a real impact in changing the momentum of the contest in the second half,” Central District Under 18s coach and Talent Manager Darren Reeves said.

“Playing a tough role across half forward, you couldn’t question Cooper endeavour and work-ethic.

“There is no doubt the Simon is a great young athlete, we now need to team his more footy acumen. 

“Harrison was influential around the footy until he got hurt half was through the second quarter.

“Ryan ‘Falky’ played his roles strongly as a key defender.

“Jake, Bradley and Oscar were quieter, but equally had their moments.”   

Unfortunately for Elbrow he twisted his ankle early in the second term and was sidelined for the second half.

Jordan Shirley from Tea Tree Gully, part of the Bulldogs Metro Zone is also a member of this squad but unfortuanately a hamstring injury meant he couldnt take part.

All of this group are expected to play key roles in the Bulldogs Under 18 program this year.

The Under 18s first trial is March 19 against Norwood. 

Ryan Falkenberg delivers a handball under pressure in the 2017 SANFL academy match  
Simon Furnell  
Jake Billing  
Harrison Elbrow  
Harrison Elbrow  

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