Campbell and Gulden gain All Australian honours
Sydney Swans Academy members, Braeden Campbell and Errol Gulden from the AFL NSW/ACT Under-16s Rams have been selected in the 2018 NAB AFL Under-16s All Australian squad.
This caps off a stellar season for both Gulden and Campbell who both cemented their spots in the national squad with best on ground performances in the Rams’ two matches on the Gold Coast last week.
For Gulden in particular, his selection adds another accolade to his young footy career list of achievements after claiming the Rams’ Most Valuable Player Award, as well as the overall Best and Fairest of the 2018 NAB AFL Under-16s MVP for the Championships.
Westbrook’s Campbell is placed in the team as a left footed small defender and midfielder with smart decision-making skills. With a strong kick – both short and long – Campbell is a clean ball-handler who averaged 19.3 possessions at 74 per cent efficiency during the Championships, winning an equal share of contested and uncontested football.
Maroubra’s Gulden has been recognised as a prolific ball-winning small midfielder and forward with an outstanding work rate, football knowledge and a penetrating left foot. Averaging 31.7 disposals, 4.7 clearances, two goals and 5.7 tackles on his way to winning the Rams’ MVP, his read on the ball is second-to-none.
Under-16s Rams Coach, Lloyd Perris says both of the boys thoroughly deserve their place in the squad after producing consistent football during the national championships.
“Braeden has all the right attributes – he is athletic, skillful and attacks the ball like few others I’ve seen,” said Perris.
“Errol is a prolific ball-winner with an outstanding work rate. No matter what position Errol plays he finds a way to get the ball and influence the game positively for his team.
“Whilst both boys kick the ball extremely well, they are also massive competitors and thrive on hard work, which is exactly the type of player you love to coach.”
But while Perris applauds the two players for their selection in the All Australian squad, he admits there is still a long road to travel.
“They are only 15 to 16 years old, and still obviously a few years away from potentially being drafted, so whilst this is great recognition and a feather in their cap, there is a long way to go yet.
“From working with both of these boys, I know they both have a really strong work ethic and a desire to keep improving, so it is exciting to see what they can produce over the next few years.
Perris also gives credit to the Sydney Swans Academy and their role in the development of Gulden and Campbell.
“The Sydney Swans Academy have done an outstanding job in developing these two boys thus far.
“The elite environment that is provided by Chris Smith, Jared Crouch and co., will ensure these boys continue to improve and get the best out of themselves in the future.”
2018 NAB AFL Under-16s All Australian squad
Defenders: Brandon Walker (WA), Denver Granger-Barras (WA), Sam Collins (Tas), Braeden Campbell (NSW/ACT), Ethan Baxter (Vic Country), Jye Sinderberry (SA)
Midfield: Riley Thilthorpe (SA), Will Phillips (Vic Metro), Tanner Bruhn (Vic Country), Luke Edwards (SA), Zane Trew (WA), Corey Durdin (SA)
Forwards: Elijah Hollands (Vic Country), Kaine Baldwin (SA), Errol Gulden (NSW/ACT), Taj Schofield (WA), Logan McDonald (WA), Jackson Callow (Tas)
Interchange: Alex Davies (Qld), Nathan O’Driscoll (WA), Oliver Davis (Tas), Malcolm Rosas (NT), Campbell Edwardes (Vic Metro)
Coach: Julian Farkas (SA)
Assistant coach: Nathan Warren (Tas)