WA Football's outstanding results at the recent NAB AFL Draft has been boosted by the inclusion of 10 emerging players in the 2022 NAB AFL and AFLW Academy squads.
Five WAFL clubs are represented in the top age (born 2004) intake for boys next year.
Peel Thunder’s Jackson Broadbent, East Perth’s Jedd Busslinger, Claremont’s Sam Gilbey, Jed Hagan from East Fremantle, and Swan Districts' colts premiership player Elijah Hewitt will get their chance to impress ahead of the 2022 Draft.
South Fremantle has two representatives for the top age girls group.
Bulldogs pair Ashleigh Reidy and Lauren Wafker join Peel Thunder star Ella Roberts in the squad of 21.
For Roberts, it’s the next step towards her dream of joining the AFLW.
“It’s an absolute honour to be included in the Academy and makes my bid to become an elite footballer feel more real," she said.
"Just the chance to train alongside players with the same ability or better than myself makes this a really exciting time in my life."
Roberts is in the process of moving from Margaret River to Perth, which will provide a far less taxing travel schedule to continue her training with the Thunder.
Georgie Cleaver from East Fremantle is one of six players taken in the girl’s Bottom Age Academy and Claremont's Daniel Curtin is one of nine players in the boys bottom age Academy (born 2005).
This year’s intake includes some of the best 17-year-olds across Australia, who’ll be eligible for next year’s Men’s and Women’s Drafts.
The players will take part in an accelerated Australian Football and personal development program across Australia, beginning in January with those selected training with AFL and AFLW clubs before a high-performance camp in April.
In addition, there will be a representative game in May for the boys and in June for the girls.
This will be the 25th annual intake of boys and the fifth for the girl’s program, which is headed by National Academy Manager and coach Tarkyn Lockyer.
“It’s really exciting to announce the squad for the 2022 NAB AFL and AFLW Academies," he said.
"Selection into these squads is a great recognition for all of the players and continues to highlight the AFL and AFLW as the first-choice sport for our talented athletes."
The West Australian Football Commission congratulates this next group of budding elite footballers who’ve been recognised for their potential.