All-Australian AFL repDoug Conway
Caiden stars in title-winning team
Caiden Cleary (’22) has his sights set on a budding AFL career after being named in the All-Australian U18 team at the national championships.
The Sydney Swans Academy midfielder was part of the history-making Allies team – composed of talent from NSW, the ACT, Northern Territory, Queensland, and Tasmania – which went undefeated in winning its first title.
“He was outstanding,” said Swans Academy and Allies coach Mark McVeigh, who was named All-Australian coach.
“He had an amazing championships. He did his chances of getting drafted no harm.”
Cleary joined the Sydney Swans U11 Boys Academy program in 2016.
“He has been committed to his football development throughout the programme,” a Swans spokesman said.
“He showed excellent speed and courage as well as clean hands, playing both on the inside and outside during the national championships.
“He showed a preparedness to work hard to run and support teammates, demonstrated by an average of 12.5 handball receives across four matches.”
He averaged 29.2 disposals, 11.2 contested possessions and laid a team-high average of 6.8 tackles during the championships.
“It’s a high level, it’s competitive, and we treat them like men. We give them an AFL game plan and structure,” McVeigh said.
The Allies had never previously won more than one of their four matches since the current championships format was introduced in 2016.
They won all four matches against South Australia, Victoria Country, Victoria Metro, and Western Australia in June and July.