Main content

Two debutants confirmed for Ballarat

SUNS TV: Charlie calls home Hear the moment Charlie Ballard calls his parents to tell them he will make his AFL debut against the Bulldogs in Ballarat. can reveal two first-year SUNS will make their AFL debuts this weekend when the side takes on Western Bulldogs in Ballarat on Saturday. 

Charlie Ballard and SUNS Academy product Brayden Crossley have been called into the side to cover the dual injuries of captains Tom Lynch and Steven May

Ballard, who was taken at pick 42 in last year’s draft, has impressed so far at NEAFL level, averaging 14 disposals and a goal per game.

WATCH: Ballard to debut in Round 7

But it is the South-Australian’s ability to play a variety of roles which has SUNS coach Stuart Dew most excited.

“He’s been really consistent and probably his flexibility also helps his selection given he can play forward, mid or back,” Dew said. 

“We just thought with our side this week we need a bit of flexibility and Charlie brings that. 

“It’s really exciting for him and his family to watch him play his first game.”

Crossley has also been rewarded for strong NEAFL form, with the mobile ruckman averaging 16 disposals, five tackles and an impressive 33 hit-outs per game.

WATCH: Crossley to make AFL debut

“With Tom’s (Lynch) injury we saw fit to bring him in,” Dew said of Crossley’s selection. 

“Obviously he can play forward and ruck but the main thing is he competes really hard.”

With number one ruckman Jarrod Witts continuing to impress in the middle of the ground, it is likely Crossley will spend most of his time in the forward line.

The SUNS Academy graduate will be able to relieve Witts in the ruck when needed which releases Sam Day to take on the spearhead role usually taken by Lynch.