Grafton Tigers alumni set to impress draft selectors
AFL: There are positive signs for two up-and-coming AFL players from Grafton who are going from strength to strength.
Lilly Doyle and Hamish Ellem have continued to make their mark at the pre-elite level and put themselves firmly in the sights of AFL recruiters.
Both players were recently in action at the National Championships and are finding form at the right time.
Doyle recently had a successful two-match series for the NSW/ACT Rams Under 18 Youth Girls team who convincingly beat Tasmania, booting a total of three goals and being named among the Rams best in game two.
The strong showing has led to Doyle being called up to the Eastern Allies squad which combines the best players from NSW, ACT and Tasmania and will compete in Round two of the 2019 NAB AFL Women's Under-18 Championships on the Gold Coast in July.
There she will compete against the best players from across the country in Central Allies (NT and SA), Victoria Country and Victoria Metro.
It has been quite a rise for the Clarence junior who had played her club footy with the Grafton Tigers until 2019 when she made a transfer to Coolangatta to continue her professional development, making the drive several times a week to play and train.
Her hard work has also led to Doyle becoming a member of the AFLW Academy and looks to be a strong contender for the AFLW draft later in October.
Meanwhile Sydney Swans Academy member Hamish Ellem will be heading to Adelaide with the Allies to compete against Western Australia in the National Championships.
The team comprises of the best young talent from NSW, ACT, Tasmania, Queensland, and the Northern Territory and despite coming off the back of a big loss to the Victorian Country team, Hamish performed well enough to keep his place in the side.
The opportunity would not be lost on the Grafton contender as the Championship games are a showcase of young talent for AFL recruiters to watch over ahead of the AFL Draft coming up later in the year.
After helping the Under 18 Tigers to a premiership in 2017, Ellem moved to Sydney to pursue his AFL dream and in addition to being part of the Swans youth set up, he plays his club footy for Manly Warringah.
He will be looking to follow in the footsteps of former Allies players like Isaac Cumming and Nick Blakely who have gone on to play in the AFL.