Preview: Northern Blues vs. AFL Academy

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The Northern Blues head to Etihad Stadium tomorrow in a curtain raiser against the AFL Academy. (PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Murdoch)

The Northern Blues will take on the AFL Academy today ahead of the Carlton-Gold Coast contest at Etihad Stadium.

Allowing Carlton fans the best chance to see the entire available list in action, a number of youthful Blues will be put to the test against the best under-18 footballers in the country.

The likes of David Cuningham, Andrew Gallucci, Harry McKay and Cameron Polson will all run out against an Academy outfit ladened with talent.

In 2015, Jacob Weitering and Charlie Curnow featured for the Academy against Northern at the MCG, while Sam Petrevski-Seton shone in his two games for the side 12 months ago against VFL opposition.

High-end talent Charlie Spargo and Jaidyn Stephenson are among the names who will put their best foot forward for the Academy tomorrow.

Alongside captain Tom Wilson, the experience for the Blues will come from Sam Kerridge and Rhys Palmer, who featured in Carlton’s big win at the MCG last weekend against Essendon.

Andrew Phillips will also continue his return from injury after emerging unscathed from his comeback game against Port Melbourne in last week’s season opener.

Zac Fisher comes out of the side which went down to the Borough after being named to make his AFL debut for Carlton against the Suns tomorrow night.

Entry to the AFL game warrants entry into the curtain raiser, with gates 3 and 7 to open at 4pm in preparation for the opening bounce. All other gates open from 5:30pm.

NORTHERN BLUES SQUAD

NumberName
1Tom Wilson
3Rhys Palmer
4Sam Russell
6Glenn Strachan
7Dylan Buckley
13Cameron O'Shea
14Liam Jones
15Andrew Phillips
19Harry McKay
20Dyson Stevens
21Marcus Stavrou
25Sam Kerridge
26Alex Silvagni
31Patrick Kerr
32Nick Graham
34Jesse Glass-McCasker
47Ciaran Sheehan
48Kristian Jaksch
49Dennis Armfield
51Billie Smedts
55Liam Sumner
56Andrew Gallucci
60David Cuningham
62Blaine Boekhorst
67 Cameron Polson
80Matthew Korcheck

Denotes Carlton-listed player.

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Andrew Gallucci: 
It will be Gallucci’s third consecutive game as he continues his return to football following a long time out of the game. After a three-goal game in his return, Gallucci was again amongst the goals but didn’t have the impact against the Borough as he had the week prior. Joined by Liam Sumner, the Blues would love to have Gallucci buzzing around as he prepares for a Round 2 VFL game against his former side Williamstown next weekend.

Harry McKay: Having shown exciting signs throughout pre-season and in the season opener, a big showing is on the agenda for the young Carlton big man. Still just 19 years of age, McKay has scored in every game he’s featured in for Northern so far, capped off by a four-goal game against Richmond a few weeks ago. A similar haul is in the offing for McKay, with senior coach Josh Fraser saying the next phase of his development is consistent, four-quarter performances.

Marcus Stavrou: The youngster impressed all comers in his VFL debut last weekend and he’ll be hoping for a similar performance at Etihad Stadium. Stavrou collected 15 disposals and took six marks against the Borough, showing a cool head despite the ferocious conditions at North Port Oval. With potentially two more games to come as 23rd man, the 18-year-old will be out to show his undoubted potential against some of the brightest young talent the game has to offer.