Palm Beach Currumbin Lions products Ethan Read and Will Graham will become the newest SUNS Academy graduates to represent the club at AFL level alongside midfielder Sam Clohesy, who also spent time in the SUNS Academy as a teenager.


The trio were told the news on Wednesday morning by Senior Coach Damien Hardwick with each of their families also part of the moment via teleconference.

Read was taken with the club’s second selection in the 2024 AFL Draft at Pick 9. Standing at 202cm, the skilful tall was a member of the SUNS Academy from 13 years old and boasts a unique skillset with elite aerobic capacity for a key position player. 

The 18-year-old says it was a special moment to receive the news from Hardwick. 

“We were told we had an appearance at the club this morning, walked into the boardroom and there’s Dimma with our guernseys, telling us we’re debuting this weekend,” Read said. 

“It’s a dream come true. To have grown up with Will too and now get the chance to play my first AFL game with him, it’s pretty surreal. 

“It’s a mix of nerves and excitement at the moment. We’ve got a few days to go still so hopefully the nerves calm down a bit.” 

Graham earns his debut on the back of an impressive first pre-season after being another of the club’s first-round selections in last season’s AFL Draft, taken with Pick 26.

He was Palm Beach Currumbin’s youngest ever senior player as a 15-year-old and, alongside Read, was a member of the Allies U18 squad in 2023, impressing with his clean ball use and breakaway speed.

He played four VFL games for the club in 2023 and recently earned opportunities in the senior team during pre-season. 

“I’m still shaking a bit,” Graham said. 

“It’s something I’ve been looking forward to my whole life so i’m just excited to get out there. To have my Mum and little brother there as I found out too, it’s a moment I’ll hold forever.

“It’ll feel a bit like home (debuting alongside Read). We’ve been playing together for however many years, but to do it on this stage and for this team, it’ll be special.”

Twenty-one-year-old Clohesy is also a former member of the SUNS Academy having since relocated to Melbourne as a teenager.

The electric rebounding half-back was selected with Pick 4 in the 2024 Rookie Draft after winning the Fothergill-Round-Mitchell Medal as the most promising young talent in the VFL in 2023 and playing against the SUNS in the 2023 VFL Grand Final for Werribee. 

“I’m still in a bit of shock at the moment, but it’s everything I’ve wanted so I’m ready to go,” Clohesy said. 

“I don’t normally get too nervous but this is a bit bigger of an occasion. It’s been a long journey with a lot of moving around, but I’ve gotten myself here and I can’t wait to run out on Sunday.” 

GC SUNS General Manager of Football Performance Wayne Campbell says it’s fantastic to see three young players earn their opportunity to debut. 

“It’s always exciting to see players play their first game but to have three in the one game is truly unique and will be a great day for our club,” Campbell said.

“We had no hesitation in rewarding Ethan, Will and Sam with a debut – they’ve well and truly proved they are ready for AFL level and impressed us with their recent form.

“It’s a testament to the strength of our Academy to see these players come in and debut early in their first season of professional football.”

The trio follow Jed Walter, who debuted in Round 2, as SUNS Academy products to make their AFL debuts in 2024.