FOUR Peel Thunder players have been selected for AFL combines later this year.
Former Rockingham Rams product Aaron Naughton (18), who has been in outstanding form for Peel Thunder’s league side, was one of 10 WAFL footballers chosen for the national combine at Docklands Stadium from October 3 to 6.
Naughton, expected to be one of the first West Australians taken at this year’s national draft, has impressed in each of his four WAFL games.
His former Rams team mate Damon Cramer (19), who also plays in the league side, was selected for the State AFL draft combine on October 15, along with ex-Baldivis players Jordan Boullineau (18) and Lachlan Mitchell (18), who play for Peel Thunder colts.
The four are having sensational years after being part of the WA under-18s side that won three of its four matches at the AFL Under-18 Championships despite entering the carnival as underdogs.
The combines boost the players’ chances of being drafted by AFL clubs at the end of the year.
Peel player development manager John Deitz said Naughton was nominated by three clubs while the other three were nominated by two clubs.
“They will do a battery of physical tests and some interviews,” he said.
Deitz said the combine gives AFL clubs a good look at the players and tests them physically.
“They can see how they perform under pressure,” he said.
The club has recruited strength and conditioning coach Dave Norton to help prepare the players for the combines.
“Dave helped Josh Schoenfeld (drafted by Gold Coast) prepare for the combine in 2015 and he is really keen to help the boys out,” Deitz said.
“The state academy will also do some work with them as well.
“But it’s just a matter of trying to balance their training going into the finals without burning them out.”
Deitz said it was a great effort to have four Peel players selected for the combines.
“The colts coaches, led by Beau Wardman last year and Craig Otto, have been really good in allowing the boys to develop and give them the confidence to play good footy and back themselves,” he said.
Deitz said the opportunity to play alongside Fremantle Dockers players in the league side was also a tremendous benefit.
“If you’re a young kid and you get exposed to that you are going to get better,” he said.
“The benefit that kids at this footy club have is if you’re good enough, you get opportunities to play with blokes at the top level and get seen by their coaches,” he said.
The Mandurah Coastal Times will publish profiles on the players from next week.