THEY are the cream of the crop, the best boys who grew into the best men at playing AFL.
Some of them — Jarrad McVeigh, Chris Judd and Jarryd Roughead — even had hair when they were selected to be a part of the AFL Academy, which began in 1997.
Twenty years on and the eight coaches in Academy history — Terry Wheeler, Allan McConnell, Kevin Morris, Jason McCartney, Michael O’Loughlin, Brad Johnson, Chris Johnson and Brenton Sanderson — have named their “20 in 20”.
In picking the team, they overlooked some fairly handy talent such as Marcus Bontempelli, Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio, Nick Dal Santo, Daniel Kerr and Marc Murphy.
Deledio was at the Academy in 2004, a year in which he was always a warm favourite to be selected at No. 1 in the national draft.
During the season Deledio was interviewed by this reporter at Monash University, where the AIS team was training for an International Rules game against Ireland.
As the players assembled by the swimming pool, one noticed Deledio being photographed for a story about the potential No. 1 draft pick.
It prompted, complete with flashing smile, a friendly piece of advice: “Hey boys, you are interviewing the wrong bloke. You should be talking to me.”
His name? A kid from Perth called Buddy.
Originally published as Bont, Lids left out of academy all-stars
SOURCE: newsnow sport