McKercher and Leake named to U18 All-Australian team

After helping the Allies to a historic title at the AFL National Championships – U18 Boys, two of the Tasmania Devils’ brightest young stars have earned selection in the tournament’s All-Australian side.

Launceston duo Colby McKercher and James Leake were selected in the team after an outstanding championships, and they were joined by fellow Tasmanian and former Devil Ryley Sanders. It’s the first time in 16 years that Tasmania has had three players selected in the U18 Boys AA team, with Tom Collier, Aaron Cornelius and Aaron Joseph achieving the feat in 2007.

McKercher was extremely impressive in the middle of the ground, averaging 32.8 disposals and 5.8 clearances per game to finish as runner-up in Larke Medal voting. Those were far from empty numbers, with his blistering pace and penetrating kicking helping the Allies to surge forward time after time. He stepped up in the biggest moments, booting two crucial goals in a tournament-defining win over Victoria Country.

After earning a place in the Allies’ side for their opening game, Leake made the spot his own and never relinquished it. Leading their defence throughout the tournament, he averaged 16.2 disposals and five marks per game while locking down any opponent that was thrown at him. His intercept marking and dash made him a supremely valuable two-way player even at the highest level.

The 2023 AFL National Championships U18 Boys All-Australian Team was selected by a panel comprising Kevin Sheehan (AFL Talent Ambassador – Chair), Tarkyn Lockyer (AFL National Academy Coach/Manager) and AFL recruiters Adrian Caruso (GWS GIANTS), Kade Nanscawen (Gold Coast SUNS), David McMullin (Fremantle) and Stephen Wells (Geelong Cats).

The AFL National Championships – U18 Boys are the highest level of state and territory representative football featuring the country’s most talented under 18 boys footballers.

The Championships were played across Australia throughout June and July, with the Allies claiming the title with a 4-0 record.