Main content

2019 Academy prospects training at the SUNS

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 13: Suns players run laps during the Gold Coast Suns training session at Metricon Stadium on December 13, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media)
The huge benefit for us is that our players are treated as part of the club so they fit in really well with the players and coaches.
Academy Coach, Andrew Raines

It’s just under a month since the 2018 NAB AFL Draft, but attention has already shifted to next year’s draft crop.

Some of the best prospects from around the country have started training at AFL clubs over pre-season with the SUNS hosting up to eight Academy players over the last two weeks.

“We have had a range of our 17-19 year olds training with the AFL from our Academy,” Andrew Raines, SUNS Academy Coach, told Suns Media. 

“Priority has been given to our AFL Academy (Allies Hub) members.

“These players are - Alex Davies (U17), Jack Johnston (U17), Connor Budarick (U18), Hewago Paul Oea (U18) whilst rotating in our other high-performance players such as Josh Gore (U18), Ryan Gilmore (U19), Dirk Koenen (U19) and Lachlan McDonald (U19).”

Budarick and Paul Oea, otherwise known as Ace, are two of the SUNS’ highly-rated draft-eligible prospects for 2019.

Meanwhile Gilmore, Koenen and McDonald will be hoping to push their case next season after being overlooked in the 2018 National Draft.

Raines said it was a fantastic opportunity for the Academy to be exposed to elite AFL training standards.

“It gives them a real taste of what the life of an AFL player includes it also shows them the challenges, workload and high-performance aspects required to play AFL football,” he said.

“The huge benefit for us is that our players are treated as part of the club so they fit in really well with the players and coaches. 

“What they learn they then can bring back to the Academy and can really see the benefits in their game.”

The Academy players will continue to train with the AFL list through January after a mandatory four-week Christmas break.

From there, AFL Academy players in the Allies Hub will attend a training camp in Canberra from January 20-25 before joining the larger SUNS Academy group ahead of the new-look 2019 Academy Series.

“From February onwards we will get the entire group back at the Academy in preparation for our games in March,” Raines said.

“The Academy Series is slightly different this year - we will still continue to play the other Academies but not all.

“We will also play 3 TAC cup games this year which will be a great experience for the boys.”