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AFL Draft: South West’s Jackson Broadbent and Ella Roberts named in AFL and AFLW Academy programs

A pair of South West prospects have been named among Australia’s best AFL draft hopefuls, in a massive boost to their hopes of landing a spot on a senior list.

Collie product and Peel Thunder ruckman Jackson Broadbent, and Thunder WAFLW star Ella Roberts, have both been named in the AFL and AFLW Academy programs ahead of what the pair hope will be their final year playing State football.

The academies form a crucial step in the pathway towards the draft for the country’s elite talent.

Broadbent, a 203cm giant, made a surprise league debut for the Thunder earlier this year, kicking a maiden goal against South Fremantle as he became one of just a trio of players to make their debut for the Mandurah-based club at the tender age of 16.

It came after the club’s Fremantle Dockers listed players were forced into quarantine protocols towards the end of last season.

Broadbent also played two league games for his home club, the Collie Eagles, during the South West Football League season including a three-goal haul against Donnybrook in round 17.

Former Dockers and Western Bulldogs ruckman Daniel Bandy, who coaches Broadbent at the Thunder, told The Hard Ball Gets podcast earlier this year that the beanpole ruck was destined for higher honours.

“I could see him getting drafted in a few years for sure,” he said.

“He is about six foot eight, he moves well, and rucks quite well as well.

“He is one of those players who is hopefully going to play a bit of league footy for Peel, but no surprises if he moves on somewhere else in the big time at AFL level. “

He is one of six West Australians named in the 30-player squad, after the State boasted a monster draft haul this year, seeing 16 players land on AFL lists.

Roberts, who hails from Margaret River, broke on to the scene with a stellar 2020 WAFLW grand final performance — the first of back-to-back premierships for the club.

She was named the player of the tournament at the 2021 NAB Under-19 Championships at just 16 years of age and is arguably the most exciting of the 27 players selected nation-wide.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 15: Ella Roberts of Western Australia celebrates a goal during the 2021 AFLW U19 Championships match between Vic Metro and Western Australia at the Trevor Barker Oval on April 15, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos)
Camera IconElla Roberts has been named in the AFLW Academy program. Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos

The forward is a top-age prospect, meaning she is eligible for the 2022 AFLW draft.

AFLW Academy coach and former Collingwood defender Tarkyn Lockyer detailed the program, which will include face-to-face camps and a holistic approach to the players’ final years.

“Members of the NAB AFL and AFLW Academy will be given the opportunity to develop themselves as people and players under the guidance of expert coaching, high performance and wellbeing staff,” he said.

“The program content will be delivered through a mixture of face-to-face and online modules.

“Each of the squads will also get the opportunity to showcase their talents in a high-performance camp and representative game.”

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