Unbeaten Allies win first ever U18 boys title

The Allies have won the AFL National Championships – U18 Boys title for the first time after defeating Victoria Country by 11 points in a thrilling contest on Sunday afternoon to complete an unbeaten run through their four matches. 

Since the current format was introduced in 2016, which sees the Allies, South Australia, Vic Country, Vic Metro and Western Australia play each other once, the Allies have never previously won more than one of their four matches. 

A raft of outstanding talent from the states and territories representing the Allies – New South Wales/ACT, Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania – was on show and withstood a late surge from Vic Country to win 12.9 (81) to 10.10 (70) at RSEA Park, Moorabbin. 

A five-goal-to-one third term from the Allies was the difference in a high-intensity, skilful display from both sides played in windy conditions. Vic Country clawed their way back from 26 points down in the final term to get within five points before NT product Orlando Turner kicked the sealer with under five minutes remaining. 

198-centimetre Murray Bushrangers key defender Connor O’Sullivan, from Albury in NSW, was named the Allies’ MVP of the championships after another excellent performance in which he gathered 17 disposals and took six marks.

The Allies’ dynamic midfield mix was outstanding with Sydney Swans Academy and Sydney University player Caiden Cleary leading the way (36 disposals, seven tackles, nine inside 50s) while Tasmanians Ryley Sanders (35 touches, five clearances, three tackles) and Colby McKercher (32 possessions, eight clearances, two goals) were also superb. 

Gold Coast Suns Academy talls Jed Walter and Ethan Read, both from Palm Beach Currumbin, were imposing, with Walter (two goals) an aerial threat throughout while Read had 23 touches, seven clearances, six marks and 13 hitouts. Fellow Suns Academy prospect Jake Rogers, from Broadbeach, completed an outstanding championships with 22 possessions, eight inside 50s, six tackles and five clearances in the midfield. 



Victoria Country was well served against the Allies by GWV Rebels and South Warrnambool product George Stevens (23 disposals, four tackles, four clearances, one goal), while 2024 draft-eligible midfielder Finn O’Sullivan (Oakleigh Chargers/Koroit) was excellent with 20 touches, five inside 50s, three clearances and a brilliant running goal in the final term. 

Darcy Wilson (Murray Bushrangers/Wangaratta Rovers) was dangerous and finished with 15 possessions and two goals. Harley Reid (Bendigo Pioneers/Tongala) showed flashes of brilliance in gathering 14 possessions and six clearances. 

The Larke Medal as the Best and Fairest player of the Championships and the All-Australian team will be announced at the conclusion of the 2023 AFL National Championships – U18 Boys.


2023 AFL National Championships – U18 Boys Ladder


Victoria Metro3*210157.378
Victoria Country3*12088.034
South Australia413072.244
Western Australia413057.694


Link to match reports, highlights and replays from Sunday’s double-header at RSEA Park: www.afl.com.au/news/968010/tassie-gun-fires-as-the-wizard-bags-five-in-a-half