Alice Springs youngster Dominic Forbes will become the latest exciting debutant to represent NT Thunder when the team face Aspley on Saturday night in Darwin.
In-line with the intentions of head coach Andrew Hodges to play aspiring and talented Territory youngsters, 17-year-old Forbes is one of four Thunder players under the age of 18 to be named in the line-up.
Forbes was awarded the McAdam Medal in 2017 for being the most valuable player for the NT in the Under 16s, and off the back of strong performances representing the NT in the Under 18 and Under 16 national championships this year he has earned his call-up.
Hodges said he enjoyed making the call to let Forbes know he was going to play his first senior game.
“Dom has been putting in the hard yards, training alongside Abe Ankers in Alice Springs and when I called him it’s fair to say he took the news seriously, it was actually Abe who seemed more excited by it.
“During Thunder’s academy games, he mostly played as a rebounding defender, he has a clean right foot and can also use the ball well by hand. I look forward to seeing how he handles the NEAFL and giving him the opportunity to further his development.”
After an impressive showing against the Demons last week, Izaak Wyatt is a youngster who retains his spot, while lively forwards Michael Mummery and Beau Schwazre round out the young quartet.
In more big news for Thunder, skillful midfielder Jarred Erlandson has put his name forward for selection, the first time since fracturing his hand in Thunder’s Round 3 loss to Sydney University.
Tom Davies, who looked likely to miss the remainder of the season after injuring his leg while serving a stint on the sidelines for suspension has come good, so too has big man Hugo Drogemuller who is set to play his twelfth game for the year.
2015 Premiership player Sam Talbot rounds out the list of inclusions after returning from leave, while fellow premiership teammate Cameron Ilett will miss the first senior game of his career after being issued a one-match suspension for engaging in rough conduct in last week’s game.
Matt Green, Coen Hutt, Tylah Saunders and Phillip Wills are all sidelined with injury, with Matt Campbell in Adelaide this weekend to play in an exhibition game that will raise funds for injured player Tai Martin-Page and Chris Williams named as the first emergency.
Hodges said the team always enjoy coming up against Aspley and he was pleased to name a side who would take its opportunities against a slick, well-drilled opponent.
“The loss of Cam is not something we deal with often, he is just a class act but the guys who come into the side have well and truly earned their spot and will be well supported by Shannon Rioli and the other leaders out there.
“Erlo has faced a couple of injury setbacks in the last few months but his continued commitment and buy-in has really impressed me, while the same can be said about Tommy and Hugo who were both consistent performers until they were struck down.
“Mummers and Beau are exciting Territory prospects and this will be a great challenge for them while Talbs is a seasoned Thunder representative whose experience is most welcome.
“We may be out of the finals race but we can still cause some issues for other teams so if our ambitions to play our way and earn back respect means we cause a couple of upsets, well that wouldn’t be too disappointing,” he said.
NEAFL Round 17
NT Thunder vs Aspley Hornets
Saturday 28 July
TIO Stadium, Darwin
B: Tom Davies, Sam Dyke, Tim Brook
HB: Izaak Wyatt, Hugo Drogemuller, Sam Smith
C: Ben Rioli, Abraham Ankers, Sam Talbot
HF: Liam Patrick, Kaine Riley, Nick Yarran
F: Jarrod Stokes, Darren Ewing, Shannon Rioli
FOLL: Jack Monigatti, Joe Anderson, Richard Tambling
INT: Patrick Boles, Michael Mummery, Beau Schwarze, Dominic Forbes*, Jarred Erlandson
EMERGENCIES: Chris Williams, Shaun Wilson, Patrick Heenan
IN: Tom Davies, Hugo Drogemuller, Dominic Forbes, Jarred Erlandson, Muchael Mummery, Beau Schwatze, Sam Talbot
OUT: Matt Campbell (unavailable), Matthew Green (injured – concussion), Coen Hutt (injured – concussion), Cameron Ilett (suspension), Tylah Saunders (injured – calf), Chris Williams (omitted), Phillip Wills (injured – back)
* Indicates 23rd player
You can live stream this game on ThunderVision thanks to Tatts