AFL Sydney Under 22 – Summer Series Round One Preview (AFL Sydney vs. Sydney Swans Academy)

Written by Sam Zikman (AFL Sydney)

After a 5-year drought the wait is over for the return of AFL Sydney Representative football. At 11am on Saturday Morning at Blacktown International Sports Park (Oval 1) rep footy is back! And what a way to kick it all off once again – the ‘Battle for Sydney’ between AFL Sydney (Under 22) and the Sydney Swans Academy (Under 19) in the first round of the AFL NSW/ACT Summer Series for 2024. The temperature will be hot, and the contest will be scorching with plenty of talent on display in all four teams competing at BISP.  

AFL Sydney Female Under 22’s vs. Swans Academy Female Under 19’s

Venue: Blacktown International Sports Park, Oval 1

Entry: Free – come down and support our AFL Sydney teams!

Start time: 11:00am

Format: 4 * 18-minute quarters (no time on)

Numbers: 18 players on the field, 5 players on the bench (23 players)

Live Stream: AFL Sydney Facebook Page from 10:55am

AFL Sydney Female Under 22’s Team:

FB: Olivia Cameron (Manly Warringah Wolves), Gabriella Stanwix (UTS Bats), Amelia Bennett (Pennant Hills)

HB: Zoe Bush (UTS Bats), Abbey Martin (East Coast Eagles), Beth Martini (UTS AFC Bats)

C: Hannah Cerezo (UTS AFC Bats) (VC), Caitlin Fletcher (Parramatta Goannas) (C), Ruby Reid (UTS Bats)

HF: Brooke Bailey (East Coast Eagles), Teagan Germech (East Coast Eagles), Sophia Gaukrodger (UTS Bats)

FF: Sophia Kavanagh (Parramatta Goannas), Mikayla Jones (East Coast Eagles), Tilley Edwards Hill (UTS AFC Bats)

FOL: Poppy Adams (North Shore Bombers), Hannah Woolf (Manly Warringah Wolves), Summer Hall (East Coast Eagles)

INT: Aoife Berry (UTS Bats), Elly Rudd (Pennant Hills Demons), Jayme Saggers (Manly Warringah Wolves), Jess Whelan (East Coast Eagles), Saskia Johnson (Sydney University)

EMG: Emelye Blades (UTS AFC Bats), Kate Salmon (Manly Warringah Wolves), Rachel Simpson (St. George Dragons)

Head Coach: Kellie Nolan (UTS Bats)

Assistant Coach/s: Eleanor Rugg (Pennant Hills Demons), Chloe Davis (Parramatta Goannas) & Alannah McCaffery (Parramatta Goannas)

Match Preview:

Hard to not be excited for this match up between AFL Sydney and the Sydney Swans Academy in Round One of the Female Summer Series for 2024. The AFL Sydney team are fit, firing and ready for the challenge which will no doubt be coming. The Swans Academy top end programs are elite, and the players well drilled.

The AFL Sydney team is littered with big game players, despite being an Under 22 team. Plenty of Premier Division, Academy and Premiership experience across every line will ensure the team is prepared for the first match of the Summer Series. Importantly, the team will be anchored by Gabriella Stanwix (UTS Bats) and Abbey Martin (East Coast Eagles) who would be highly likely to compete for spots in the Senior rep match vs. Canberra in May (May 18 in Canberra). Martin reads the ball exceptionally, and without doubt will rack up the intercept marks and prove a frustration for the Swans Academy should they move the ball recklessly into their forward 50.

The team will be led by Caitlin Fletcher (Parramatta Goannas) and there would not have been many surprised onlookers when the team was read out after training at Goanna Park (Gipps Road) with Caitlin named skipper. She is an exceptional player and leader in our competition; the young AFL Sydney team will be walking a little taller with Fletcher leading the side. In the midfield Hannah Woolf (Manly Warringah Wolves) and Hannah Cerezo (UTS AFC Bats) will play the key roles ensuring AFL Sydney win the battle around the ground, and don’t allow the Swans Academy team to play their preferred game style of owning the footy with high skill level, and controlling the tempo as they exit defence.

The key to the game will be the entry into the forward line with both teams capable of hitting the scoreboard, AFL Sydney will be looking to the likes of Sophie Kavanagh (Parramatta Goannas) who kicked 25 goals in Women’s Premier Division last season, along with Mikayla Jones (East Coast Eagles) who will prove a key target for AFL Sydney. Small forward and back-to-back Premiership player Brooke Bailey (East Coast Eagles) is likely to play an important role locking the ball inside 50.

No doubt Saskia Johnson (Sydney University) and Jess Whelan (Manly Warringah) won’t be on the bench for long and will likely act as super subs for Kellie Nolan and Elly Rugg as their combined ability to impact the contest, win the footy and turn a game will be important ingredients to an AFL Sydney victory come the final siren at around 12:45pm on Saturday afternoon.

AFL Sydney Male Under 22’s vs. Swans Academy Male Under 19’s

Venue: Blacktown International Sports Park, Oval 1

Entry: Free – come down and support our AFL Sydney teams!

Start time: 1:00pm

Format: 4 * 20-minute quarters (no time on)

Numbers: 18 players on the field, 5 players on the bench (23 players)

Live Stream: AFL Sydney Facebook Page from 12:55pm

AFL Sydney Male Under 22’s Team:

FB: Sean Netting (North Shore Bombers), Eddie Marning (St George Dragons), Max Toohey (North Shore Bombers)

HB: Joshua Lee (UTS Bats), Billy Foster (UNSW-ES Bulldogs), Aiden Adams (Manly Warringah Wolves)

C: Jackson Tikkeros (UNSW-ES Bulldogs), Jacob Jones (East Coast Eagles), Angus Edwards (East Coast Eagles)

HF: Ethan Grace (North Shore Bombers), Jayden Gilheaney (Camden Cats), Dylan Bonham (Pennant Hills Demons)

FF: William Gibbs (Sydney University), Jed Robin (UNSW-ES Bulldogs), Harrison Pitt (Pennant Hills Demons)

FO: Leroy Veerhuis (Inner West Magpies), Kale Gabila (Manly Warringah Wolves), Taine Wright (Manly Warringah Wolves)

INT: Jay Tang (Sydney University), Tim Organ (East Coast Eagles), Cameron Mitchell (Pennant Hills Demons), Blake Ciscato (Inner West Magpies), Harrison Elbourne (East Coast Eagles)

EMG: Zachariah Tabia (Camden Cats), Jye Doyle (Inner West Magpies), Louis Pribula (UTS Bats)

*Captains to be named on Saturday

Head Coach: Ben Roberts (Pennant Hills Demons)

Assistant Coach: Kevin Dyson (UTS Bats)

Match Preview:

Ben Roberts and Kevin Dyson have the AFL Sydney Male Under 22 team primed and ready to go to work on Saturday, with a healthy squad of supremely talent young players from across the league. Pleasingly, ten (10) AFL Sydney clubs are represented in the side to take on the Swans Academy with players from both Premier Division and Division One clubs.

It will be fantastic to see Jaden Gilheany (Camden Cats) on the big stage, a player well known to Platinum clubs had a sensational season in 2023 booting 66 goals to win the leading goal kicker award on Phelan-Mostyn Medal Night. Jaden will have plenty of support up forward with Jed Robin (UNSW-ES Bulldogs) who kicked 5 massive goals in the Under 19 Division One Grand Final last season, along with playing some impressive Premier Division footy to provide twin targets inside forward 50. About as classy a finisher as there is in AFL Sydney, William Gibbs (Sydney University) who can play both tall and small, along with Phelan Medal Winner Kale Gabila (Manly Warringah Wolves) and the electric Jackson Tikkeros (UNSW-ES Bulldogs) will keep the Swans Academy defenders on their toes and the coaches ringing the changes to keep up with what could be the most dynamic forward structure in the entire Summer Series.

The talent doesn’t stop in the forward line with a well-rounded midfield with great ball winner such as Ethan Grace (North Shore Bombers) and Dylan Bonham (Pennant Hills Demons), exceptional users in Jacob Jones (East Coast Eagles) and Angus Edwards (East Coast Eagles) along with some serious strength in the form of Taine Wright (Manly Warringah) and Cameron Mitchell (Pennant Hills, Rising Star winner in season 2023) to keep the Swans Academy honest around the ground.

Down back the team will be led by Premier Division player and the rock of the team Eddie Marning (St. George Dragons). Whoever ends up at full forward for the Swans Academy will be in for a tough day at the office, as Marning is both strong & disciplined and importantly seldom beaten in the air or on the ground. Marning will be supported by a backline any Premier Division team would dream of with Sean Netting (North Shore), Max Toohey (North Shore) and Aiden Adam (Manly Warringah) to provide the ball winning, skills and dash from the back half while Josh Lee (UTS Bats) will ensure an intercepting cerebral presence for AFL Sydney.

Whoever takes home the win in round one of the Summer Series between these two sides will have earned the victory, and equally positioned themselves as the team to beat in this year’s series.

Bring on Round One of the AFL NSW/ACT Summer Series, and make sure you get down to BISP to support the AFL Sydney teams on Saturday.