GIANTS Academy product Josaia Delana in action for the Allies against South Australia.

GIANTS Academy coach Tadhg Kennelly says three of his young stars have what it takes to make it to the elite level as they showcase their talents for the Allies during the Under-18 National Championships.

GIANTS Academy members Josaia Delana, Logan Smith and Cooper Bell were all recently recognised for their outstanding talent with inclusion in the 31-man Allies squad for the Under-18 National Championships.

Showcasing the best teenage footballers from across Australia, the championships feature the Allies, South Australia, Vic Country, Vic Metro and Western Australia who will play each other once each across the next two months.

The three GIANTS Academy stars have played in both of the Allies’ opening two games across the championships - a 12-point loss to South Australia two weeks ago followed by a 20-point win over Western Australia in Blacktown last Sunday.

Delana was the pick of the GIANTS trio in the recent win, with the strong midfielder registering 19 touches, 12 tackles, five marks and four clearances.

Consisting of players from NSW/ACT, Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania, Kennelly said the GIANTS’ trio’s Allies selection was thoroughly deserved.

“They’ve been outstanding all of this year and the last couple of years and these guys will have a big say in the championships,” Kennelly said of the three 17-year-olds.

“You’re obviously always looking to try and get more and more [GIANTS in the Allies] but these three will play all four of the games, they’re amongst the best of the 22 each week.”

A tough 176cm midfielder hailing from Western Sydney, Delana was selected after starring for the GIANTS in their recent Coates Talent League campaign.

Smith has also endured a dominant start to his draft year, with the 204cm ruckman shaping as the leading ruckman in this year’s draft pool after averaging 18 touches and 27 hit-outs from three matches for the GIANTS Academy.

GIANTS Academy product Logan Smith in action for the Allies against South Australia.

A 198cm swingman, Bell also deserves his place in the Allies after strong form for the Academy.

GIANTS Academy product Cooper Bell in action for the Allies against South Australia.

Kennelly said the boys are filled with traits that can help them reach the AFL.

“Josaia is extremely competitive, very powerful and loves to get after the opposition. He’s got an elite sidestep as well,” he said.

“Logan is very, very competitive and very fit for a big man and his centre bounce and tap work is the best I’ve seen for a long, long time.

“Then ‘Belly’ [Bell] is one of the youngest ones, he’s not 18 until late December but he’s a good size at nearly 200cm and he’s very competitive and has a bit of a mean streak in him in that he doesn’t like to lose.

“He’s also got a real presence around the group and on the ground and he’s flexible and can play forward or back which is a great trait.”

Kennelly said the trio are trending in the right direction to reach their AFL ambitions but reiterated the weight that the National Championships has on a player’s draft stocks.

“They’ve consistently been our best over the last six months but also one common denominator that they all have is that they’re all really competitive and that’s something you clearly need to play AFL football.

“If you’re competitive and you want to learn and improve, which those three have in abundance, then you’re certainly tracking in the right direction.

“If you get in the Allies and play then that’s really where the order and selection in the draft comes from so playing a couple of good games can go a long way to getting drafted.”

The Allies will next take on Victoria Metro at IKON Park this Sunday, June 9, ahead of their final clash on Sunday, July 7 against Victoria Country at Brighton Homes Arena in Queensland.

The final 23 for Sunday’s Allies side will be named later in the week.

WATCH: All matches in the 2024 Marsh AFL National Championships – U18 Boys will be live streamed on the AFL website.