As preparations commence for the New Zealand v AFL Academy clash at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium on April 27th, we will work through a list of talented candidates in the mix to make an impact for New Zealand against the Australian team.
Players already named in the 2020 International Cup Squad will all come into contention. The upcoming 2019 AFL New Zealand Premiership could also provide the coaching staff with some answers.
The successful 2018 Under 18 New Zealand team, the 2017 International Cup squad, an impressive contingent of Australian based players and a host of debutants in the 2019 AFL New Zealand Premiership, will all play a part in what is expected to be the most competitive selection process in recent memory.
North East Australian Football League (NEAFL) and Northern Territory Thunder superstar, Cameron Ilett first played for New Zealand in 2014 and has a strong motivation to do so again at Marvel Stadium next April.
The silky midfielder has won the ‘NT Thunder Club champion award’ a record six times and is proud of his NZ heritage.
“It’s an exciting opportunity for AFLNZ to showcase its football development and talent in Melbourne, the home of AFL. To represent your Country on such an important day for New Zealand and Australia is an absolute honour and privilege. I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead, going into camp with the lads and putting on the NZ guernsey!”
Casey Demons VFL star Mykelti Lefau debuted for New Zealand against the AFL Academy in 2017 and was a standout in his first game impressing a number of AFL club scouts.
The 20 year old was born in Auckland and only took up AFL four years ago and is a star in the making with his ferocious attack on the footy along with his solid defence.
Joe Baker-Thomas has come a long way since getting spotted playing AFL at Porirua College in 2013.
The former St Kilda Football Club International Scholarship holder still resides in Melbourne and is currently linked to the Pakenham Football Club.
The 22 year old was one of the standouts for New Zealand during the 2017 International Cup and with a strong passion for the game, Baker-Thomas will be looking to run out on Marvel Stadium and represent the Silver Fern.