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.
2017 Port Adelaide draftee Jake Patmore (Pictured above) could don the Silver Fern for the first time in April next year.
The 19 year old, who has affiliations with the Ngati Maru Tribe (the same tribe as Dustin Martin) played alongside fellow Draftee Conner Ballenden from the Brisbane Lions in the 2016 AFL Academy game against the New Zealand National side in Albany, Auckland.
The midfielder is still developing but a talent that new head coach Chris Mundell would love to include in his squad.
In other news:
New Zealand midfielder Ben Hick will be aiming for a return to International footy next April.
Having sat out the ANZAC campaign in April this year due to injury, the new Northern Suns Captain (AFLNZ Premiership) is back to full health and ready to make an impact.
Ben made his debut at the 2017 International Cup after having been involved in the AFL New Zealand High Performance Programme for ten years and earned a spot in the International Cup World Team through hard work and determination.
Hailing from Otago, Hayden Johnston is one of New Zealand’s bright young talents who has the potential to make a big name for himself in the AFL New Zealand community.
The 18 year old was the vice captain of the victorious New Zealand Under 18 side back in May this year and played an integral role in the side when they won their first ever game on Australian soil.
A strong, tough defender, Johnston is yet to make his senior debut but is making big strides to include himself in next year’s ANZAC squad.