2021 Academy Spotlight - Austin Harris (Cairns/Broadbeach)

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GC2015

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I thought it might be fun to try this again in 2021 after the 2020 Alex Davies version was interrupted for multiple reasons. This year's academy spotlight will be on Cairns native Austin Harris. His father Errol Harris is also a Cairns native who played first class cricket for Tasmania while his mother is Vietnamese. Austin is a Cairns Saints junior and he moved down to the Gold Coast at the age of 15 to play club footy for the Palm Beach Currumbin Lions. In 2019 he was named Queensland's MVP and was selected in the All-Australian side for his performances at the U16 AFL National Championships. He is the only Queenslander to be selected in the 2021 NAB AFL Academy Squad. He switched QAFL clubs in 2020 to play for the Broadbeach Cats.




Austin Harris
Height:
Position: Outside Midfielder/Defender
Junior Club/s: Cairns Saints (AFL Cairns), Palm Beach Currumbin (QAFL), Broadbeach (QAFL)
 
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GC2015

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In terms of the second best prospect in our '21 academy class, I couldn't decide which of these two was more likely to be drafted in an earlier position so I decided to add both Bella and Lockett into this thread. Here's the breakdown:


Will Bella
Height: 194cm
Position: Forward/Ruck
Junior Club/s: Bakers Creek (AFL Mackay), Palm Beach Currumbin (QAFL)



Jye Lockett
Height: 189cm
Position: Forward
Junior Club/s: Southport (GCAFL), Greater Western Victoria (NAB League)


Bella grew up in Mackay and Lockett grew up on the Gold coast. Bella also plays for Palm Beach Currumbin High in the local school competitions and Lockett plays for a famous footy factory in Ballarat known as St Patrick's College. They also both have footy family connections with Will's sister Lauren currently playing for our AFLW team and Jye's uncle Tony being one of the best footballers of all time. Should be very interesting to see how both players go in 2021!

So Lockett still definitely part of the academy?

Yes. You'll see his name in the link above. He also mentions in the June 2020 interview below that he looks forward to playing for our academy and the Allies in 2021.


Also is this Austin’s year (forgot his 1st name)
Best player at u16 nationals for Qld last year from memory. Must have some talent.
I didn't add Austin Harris because I hadn't heard much of him since he moved down from Cairns to the Gold Coast two years ago. IMO Bella has received more attention lately by securing the QAFL U18s MVP award this year as well as starring for PBC High in the Queensland Schools Championship and picking up another MVP award (a team that Harris was also a part of). Happy to be proven wrong and change the thread title though. Things will become more obvious once we get into the swing of games next year.

Jye Lockett is the wildcard because he'll be exposed to a much higher standard of footy on a regular basis down in Ballarat (presuming games are played next year) so it's entirely possible Jye ends up the best from our '03 draft class. His situation reminds me of Jacob Hopper's where we have a northern academy player who ends up boarding in country Victoria for the last 2-3 years of high school. Extremely rare for a Queenslander to do that but I'm certainly not complaining.
 
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Mt Isa Mustang

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Yes. You'll see his name in the link above. He also mentions in the June 2020 interview below that he looks forward to playing for our academy and the Allies in 2021.




I didn't add Austin Harris because I hadn't heard much of him since he moved down from Cairns to the Gold Coast two years ago. IMO Bella has received more attention lately by securing the QAFL U18s MVP award this year as well as starring for PBC High in the Queensland Schools Championship and picking up another MVP award (a team that Harris was also a part of). Happy to be proven wrong and change the thread title though. Things will become more obvious once we get into the swing of games next year.

Jye Lockett is the wildcard because he'll be exposed to a much higher standard of footy on a regular basis down in Ballarat (presuming games are played next year) so it's entirely possible Jye ends up the best from our '03 draft class. His situation reminds me of Jacob Hopper's where we have a northern academy player who ends up boarding in country Victoria for the last 2-3 years of high school. Extremely rare for a Queenslander to do that but I'm certainly not complaining.
Great to have a variety of options coming through the academy.

fast forward 5 years

IF we get a half back / midfield general in Bowes
A zippy lockdown back pocket / midfielder in budarick.
A big inside mid in Davies
A hulking forward / ruck in Bella.
A marking 3rd tall forward in Lockett

it will be a boon for junior Qld footy on the coast and in particular north Qld.


This was some news about Harris last year.
 

Jen2310

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I decided to change the title of this thread and OP based on him being the only Queenslander named in the NAB AFL Academy next year. Austin Harris seems to be our man in 2021!
he must be good to be included in the AFL academy squad.. And must be why they talked about needing points next years draft.
 

GC2015

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he must be good to be included in the AFL academy squad.. And must be why they talked about needing points next years draft.
You have to think he's right up there given only the best prospect are chosen for this program.

I'm assuming the AFL are going to remove our automatic pre-draft access to academy prospects so we'll find ourselves in a tricky circumstance if a situation plays out like Austin being bid on with a top 5 pick and we finish above 14th on the ladder. We'll have to trade up the draft order (GWS style) in order to retain our own first round draft pick. Then we have to worry about Ned Stevens potentially being bid on with a top 20-30 pick as well as other academy prospects like Will Bella and Jye Lockett receiving later bids. As you pointed out, we clearly need points in case these prospects have strong 2021 seasons and we're forced to match a lot of bids next year.

We seem to have a lot better prospects coming through our academy these days. I think it's fair to assume it has a lot to do with the better facilities we have now and the further investment of money that went into our academy a few years back. Just goes to show, if you invest properly then you will reap the rewards. Just ask the Sydney Swans who have had three top 5 picks come out of their academy in the last seven years.
 

Peel67skin

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he must be good to be included in the AFL academy squad.. And must be why they talked about needing points next years draft.
The problem is next year you need to delist players to use the points, also BF fan tend to overvalue academy players , especially GCS , jen2310 look at Collingwood academy player this year and Fremantle Brandon Walker , no where near predicted bid by BF fan .

* Next year draft will be dominated by Vic players .
 
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Jen2310

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The problem is next year you need to delist players to use the points, also BF fan tend to overvalue academy players , especially GCS , jen2310 look at Collingwood academy player this year and Fremantle Brandon Walker , no where near predicted bid by BF fan .

* Next year draft will be dominated by Vic players .
Yeah, we like to overvalue players because we have high hopes for them. I'm glad a bid for reef didn't come where was rumoured. Think no footy helped with that. But overvaluing players here doesn't mean they aren't any good.

But yeah, unfortunately everyone has to delist players every year. It gets tougher every year especially after you get rid of dead weight or injury prone players.
 

Mt Isa Mustang

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So what kind of player is Austin?
Think he was the all Australian back pocket in u16 from memory?
Connor budarick type?
 

Peel67skin

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Yeah, we like to overvalue players because we have high hopes for them. I'm glad a bid for reef didn't come where was rumoured. Think no footy helped with that. But overvaluing players here doesn't mean they aren't any good.

But yeah, unfortunately everyone has to delist players every year. It gets tougher every year especially after you get rid of dead weight or injury prone players.
I like the two rookie list players Aiden Fyfe and Nicholls good value on rookie list .
As for senior list , nab league and VFL will give good indication of their true colour .
 

Yeeted Suns

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If we draft Harris does that mean we have both the first Japanese heritage player (Alex Davies) and Vietnamese heritage player (Austin Harris)? Pretty cool if so.
 

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GC2015

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So what kind of player is Austin?
Think he was the all Australian back pocket in u16 from memory?
Connor budarick type?
This is what I could find. Seems his best position is as a small running half back who rotates through the midfield:

Was a busy forward mover from defence and through midfield for Queensland, winning the Maroons’ MVP award. Breaks the lines with good speed and is a neat user on his left foot, while also having the capacity to hit targets at long-range too.

Harris’ run and carry was fantastic for Queensland, making him a key contributor on his way to claiming his state’s MVP award. Harris just always found a way to the ball, getting into good areas with a high work rate and pushing forward at every chance. He often finished his runs off with neat kicks and provided a touch of class when in possession.

Harris was busy around the stoppages and always working hard, getting to the pill at both ends. Early in the game he saved a goal by punching the ball across the line under pressure in defence, then ran in and kicked a goal before being knocked over. He used it well off his left coming off half-back and was able to dish off cleanly to teammates.


Led well with team-highs in disposals (19) and marks (seven), working hard around the ground to provide good run and produce lateral short kicks. His use from the corridor was particularly noticeable, but like Lanthois, Harris was one who just seemed to be everywhere with his accumulative possessions and put in a really hard-working shift for the Maroons.

Sounds like Harris will be a nice replacement for Harbs. Budders seems to be more of a lock down small defender for us whereas Harris sounds likely he'll be the run and carry type of player we've been missing since Adam Saad left.

If we draft Harris does that mean we have both the first Japanese heritage player (Alex Davies) and Vietnamese heritage player (Austin Harris)? Pretty cool if so.
I believe so. The AFL will likely use both Davies and Harris to grow the game in Asian communities throughout Australia and potentially internationally as well so that's good news for our pursuit in trying to grow the game in Queensland.

Anybody knows Harris's current height? I found 175cm in 2019.
Can't seem to find his updated height anywhere but you'd have to assume he's grown at least a few cms between the ages of 15-17. Here he is next to the 192cm Alex Davies a few weeks ago:

 

GC2015

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Cairns' Austin powers to Gold Coast Suns
Exciting FNQ talent Austin Harris is on track to be another Gold Coast Suns selection late next year after being included in the AFL academy squad.

The Cairns Saints junior, who has relocated to the Gold Coast to be a full-time member of the Suns Academy, was this month included in a 21-player squad selected by the AFL, in conjunction with several club recruiters, to be a part of the academy program next year.

Former Collingwood defender Tarkyn Lockyer will coach the academy group, which will include camps as well as playing a game against a VFL side next year.

"We've selected an exciting list of players to enter the AFL Academy and we're looking forward to seeing them grow as people and as footballers," Lockyer said.

"This holistic academy program provides all players with a heavy focus on elite football development and is equally focused on improving high performance and mental wellbeing of all players to best assist them with their 2021 journey and best prepare them for the highest level."

Like fellow AFL Cairns junior Alex Davies this year, Harris is expected to be elevated to the Suns' senior list if he continues his outstanding form.

...
Nice to see Harris will be given the opportunity to take part in AFL camps with the other 20 best juniors in the country. It also says he'll play a game against a VFL side but obviously we hope he plays many games against VFL teams for our reserves next year. It'll be a busy schedule for Austin next year with commitments to our academy NAB League team, the Allies U18 National Championships team, our VFL reserves team and Broadbeach's senior QAFL team.
 

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