Chris Jansen, 17, Logan Austin, 17, and Ben Halse, 18. Photo: Melissa Adams
Retired Sydney and Carlton star Jason Saddington believes four Canberra juniors have what it takes to be drafted into the AFL.
Chris Jansen, Logan Austin, Ben Halse and Jedd Clothier will represent the NSW/ACT Rams in Saturday's opening round of the Under 18 National Championships in Blacktown.
Saddington, who played 162 AFL matches, will coach the Rams this season and predicted big things from the ACT juniors.
''They've performed well in the trial matches, and in the lead-up, so I think they've got some exciting times ahead and we're looking forward to seeing what they can do,'' he said. ''They've all got the attributes that make AFL players so we're really excited at what they can bring.''
Former Belconnen junior Clothier moved to Melbourne this year to take up a scholarship with Essendon, while Jansen, Austin and Halse are part of the GWS Giants Academy.
''Jedd is a real leader among the group and it's great to have him back in the squad,'' Saddington said. ''He's played at that higher-level environment of footy so he should be more comfortable leading into the championships perhaps compared to some of the boys who have who have just been playing junior footy around NSW and the ACT.''
Jansen has been named as one of the vice-captains for the Rams.
''He will provide us with some leadership and drive from the back half of the field,'' Saddington said.
''Logan's very athletic and versatile and can play a number of positions.
''Ben's got that competitive streak so he's prepared to throw his body into the contest, whether that's on the ground or in the air, so he's someone who we're looking at to hold up a key defensive place.''
Jansen said he was looking forward to seeing how he compared with some of the nation's best under 18 players over the five rounds of the competition.
''It will be good to challenge ourselves and see where we're at in terms of making AFL lists.''