Published on May 28, 2019 5:00 pm

U18 Vic Country squad announced

The final 37-player Vic Country squad to compete in the 2019 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships – commencing this Saturday – has been announced.

There are representatives in the squad from all six NAB League Boys clubs based in country Victoria – Bendigo Pioneers, Dandenong Stingrays, Geelong Falcons, Gippsland Power, Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Murray Bushrangers.


* See the full Vic Country squad for the 2019 NAB AFL Under-18 Championships further down the page.


Gippsland’s Caleb Serong and Murray’s Lachlan Ash have been named Vic Country’s co-captains, with Cooper Stephens (Geelong) and Hayden Young (Dandenong) appointed as vice-captains.

The four leaders are among 32 top-age prospects in the squad, while there are five bottom-age players in the group – Tanner Bruhn (Geelong), Oliver Henry (Geelong), Elijah Hollands (Murray), Josh Treacy (Bendigo) and Henry Walsh (Geelong).

Five squad members represented an Under-18 Australian team that defeated the VFL’s Casey Demons in April – Serong, Ash, Young, Brodie Kemp (Bendigo) and Sam Flanders (Gippsland) – while Henry, Hollands and Walsh last month played for an Under-17 Australian team in a win against the New Zealand Falcons.

Seven of this year’s Vic Country players were also selected in the 2018 Country squad: Serong, Ash, Stephens, Young, Kemp, Flanders and Brock Smith (Gippsland).

That squad contained 15 players who later made it onto AFL lists for 2019, including first-round NAB AFL Draft picks Sam Walsh (pick no.1 from Geelong Falcons to Carlton), Jye Caldwell (no.11 from Bendigo Pioneers to GWS), Ned McHenry (no.16 from Geelong Falcons to Adelaide) and Xavier Duursma (no.18 from Gippsland Power to Port Adelaide).

Vic Country will this year be under the guidance of Coaching Director and Head Coach Leigh Brown – former Gippsland head coach and ex-AFL player with Fremantle, North Melbourne and Collingwood – with Brown’s panel of assistants containing midfield coach Marc Greig (also GWV head coach), forwards coach Rick Coburn (also Bendigo head coach) and backs coach David Wojcinski (former Geelong AFL premiership player).

The team commences its Under-18 Championships campaign on Saturday against Vic Metro at the MCG, before clashes with the Allies (in Launceston on Sunday June 9), South Australia (at GMHBA Stadium on Friday June 28) and Western Australia (at Marvel Stadium on Wednesday July 3).

Brown said the new NAB AFL Academy ‘hub’ structure meant thirty highly-rated players from the Victorian country-based NAB League Boys clubs were able to build important connections earlier than in previous Vic Country programs.

“Our contact with the 30 players in the hub in particular has been really important and it’s been great for those guys to spend a lot of time together,” Brown said. “Our first hub camp was in Melbourne in December and the second was in Ballarat in January, when historically our first camp has been in April.

“Building camaraderie within the group has previously been a challenge, and while Country boys are usually really good at that, having the extra two camps has been fantastic.

“We want to keep developing the boys and maximise their individual potential, but part of that is piecing it all together as a team and being competitive on the field.”





1 Ned Cahill 11-Jan-01 178 77 Dandenong Stingrays Mount Eliza/Padua College
2 Caleb Serong 09-Feb-01 178 83 Gippsland Power Warragul/Geelong Grammar
3 Cody Weightman 15-Jan-01 177 73 Dandenong Stingrays Beaconsfield/Haileybury College
4 Sam Flanders 24-Jul-01 182 81 Gippsland Power Moe/Lowanna College
5 Cameron Wild 28-Nov-01 184 80 Murray Bushrangers Shepparton/Notre Dame College
6 Riley Baldi 20-Feb-01 178 74 Gippsland Power Moe/Lowanna College
7 Mitch Martin 26-Mar-01 182 78 GWV Rebels Horsham Saints
8 Thomson Dow 16-Oct-01 183 72 Bendigo Pioneers Swan Hill/Geelong Grammar
9 Isaac Wareham 24-Dec-01 185 80 GWV Rebels Terang-Mortlake/St Patrick’s College
10 Harrison Pepper 09-Aug-01 180 83 Gippsland Power Morwell/Lowanna College
12 Lachlan Ash 21-Jun-01 186 80 Murray Bushrangers Shepparton/Notre Dame College
13 Jay Rantall 10-Jun-01 184 82 GWV Rebels South Warrnambool/Warrnambool College
14 Liam Herbert 01-Mar-01 183 73 GWV Rebels South Warrnambool
15 Ryan Sparkes 13-Apr-01 184 78 Gippsland Power Inverloch-Kongwak/Wonthaggi SC
16 Brodie Kemp 01-May-01 192 82 Bendigo Pioneers Echuca/Geelong Grammar
17 Hayden Young 11-Apr-01 188 82 Dandenong Stingrays Somerville/Mornington SC
18 Brady Rowles 11-Feb-01 186 72 Bendigo Pioneers Mildura/Bendigo Senior Secondary
19 Fraser Phillips 15-May-01 186 71 Gippsland Power Warragul/St Paul’s Anglican Grammar School
20 Elijah Hollands 25-Apr-02 188 80 Murray Bushrangers Wodonga Bulldogs/Caulfield Grammar
21 Cooper Stephens 17-Jan-01 188 83 Geelong Falcons Colac
22 Darcy Chirgwin 25-Jul-01 191 80 Sandringham Dragons St Mary’s/Melbourne Grammar
24 Brock Smith 13-Mar-01 188 81 Gippsland Power Moe/Lowanna College
25 Flynn Perez 25-Aug-01 187 82 Bendigo Pioneers Sandhurst/Catherine McAuley College
26 Jesse Clark 23-Feb-01 188 79 Geelong Falcons St Joseph’s/St Joseph’s College
27 Oliver Henry 29-Jul-02 186 72 Geelong Falcons St Mary’s/St Joseph’s College
29 Lachlan Williams 12-Sep-01 182 76 Dandenong Stingrays Mount Eliza/Mornington SC
30 James Schischka 24-Feb-01 190 79 Bendigo Pioneers Strathfieldsaye
32 Ben Worme 18-Jun-01 188 72 Bendigo Pioneers Sandhurst/Catherine McAuley College
33 Josh Treacy 04-Aug-02 192 88 Bendigo Pioneers Cohuna/Cohuna SC
34 Bigoa Nyuon 18-May-01 196 86 Dandenong Stingrays Rowville/Rowville SC
35 Toby Mahony 18-Aug-01 193 77 GWV Rebels Camperdown/Mercy Regional College
36 Sam De Koning 26-Feb-01 200 85 Dandenong Stingrays Mornington
37 Blake Kuipers 21-Aug-01 196 81 Dandenong Stingrays Rosebud/Rosebud SC
38 Henry Walsh 27-Jun-02 201 84 Geelong Falcons St Joseph’s/St Joseph’s College
39 Josh Smith 20-May-01 194 100 Gippsland Power Koo Wee Rup
40 Charlie Comben 20-Jul-01 199 82 Gippsland Power Sale/Catholic College Sale
41 Tanner Bruhn 27-May-02 182 73 Geelong Falcons Newtown & Chilwell/Geelong Grammar

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