The QBE Sydney Swans Academy's U19 team will be on the road this weekend, taking on Gippsland Power as the elite interstate NAB League competition resumes.
The match against Gippsland will be the first time in nearly two years that the Academy's Top End male players have been able to travel to Victoria to play against the cream of the country's under-age players.
The Academy will play three NAB League games in total this year, with matches in the following weeks against Melbourne-based teams, Dandenong Stingrays and Northern Knights.
The QBE Sydney Swans Academy, along with the Giants, Lions and Suns Academies, enter the NAB League for part of each season to allow players in NSW and Queensland to test themselves against the best Victorian AFL draft prospects.
The NAB competition was cancelled in 2020 but is back to full strength this year, and the age range has been lifted from Under 18 to Under 19.
Academy head coach Jared Crouch said playing in the NAB League is always a high point for the players' as they near the peak of their time in the Swans Academy system.
"It's great to play a variety of good quality opposition and we're playing three Victorian teams who we haven't played against in previous seasons,'' Crouch said.
"The benefits are enormous for our players. It allows them to benchmark themselves against Victorian players and to see where they truly sit in the pecking order.''
The Swans U19 team warmed up with a two-game Academy Series against the Giants Academy, losing the first match and then bouncing back with a win in the second match played two weeks ago.
Crouch said the players went through a big learning curve from the first game to the second, and he hopes they will carry those lessons with them into the NAB League.
"We were comprehensively beaten in our first game against the Giants because we played as individuals. We responded well and played a very good team game in the second match which allowed us to win and more importantly allowed them to feel proud of themselves for the performance they put out there,'' he said.
"We want them to bring that excitement and energy and team-first attitude again this week against Gippsland.''
There are several changes to the team this week. Willem Smit, who kicked four goals in the last game against the Giants, is injured and won't play. Marco Rossman comes into the team for his first game this year, having recovered from a hand injury.
The Swans games against Gippsland Power, Dandenong Stingrays (May 29) and Northern Knights (June 5) will be live streamed on the NAB League app, which is free to download.
NAB 1: U19 Swans Academy v Gippsland Power - Saturday, May 22. Avalon Airport Oval, Werribee
1. Byron Middleton
3. Felix Rogers
5. Cooper Wilson
7. Pierce Roseby
8. Oscar Davis
9. Taine Wright
10. Jordan Endemann
11. Kale Gabila
13. Ed Ogilvy
14. Riley Fitzroy
15. Jeremy Woodford
17. Thomas Trevaskis
19. Toby Alker
20. Marco Rossmann
22. Harrison Parker
26. Angus Anderson
27. Ciaran Flynn
28. Luke Giacometti
29. Jacob Bauer
30. Sam Eynaud
32. William Edwards
33. Jasper Crouch
34. Liam Puncher
35. Jack Mortimer