AFL Draft Hub – Gold Coast Suns Academy Preview

Updated: February 8, 2017

Name: Brayden Crossley
Height: 198cm
Weight: 100kg
Club: Southport/Gold Coast Suns academy

Image Source: Twitter

Brayden Crossley is shaping up to be one of the best tall prospects of the 2017 draft crop. The son of Queensland football hall of famer, Troy Crossley, is a brute on field with physicality and aggression the cornerstone of his game. Having played majority of the 2016 season for the Gold Coast Suns reserves team in the NEAFL competition, Crossley was able to hold his own against AFL hardened bodies as a 17 year old, giving us a scintillating preview of what’s to come. Crossley goes by the see ball, get ball philosphy, having demonstrated time and time again that he isn’t afraid to get hurt and thrives on body contact.

No stranger to the big stage, Crossley dominated the Under 16 National Championships in 2015, finishing in the bests in all 3 of his games for Queensland. The seamless transition into senior football last season saw him monster older opposition for both the Suns NEAFL and the Southport Sharks in the QAFL seniors in 2016. He was rewarded with a NEAFL rising star nomination in Round 7 for his 21 disposal, 17 hitout effort in a dominant display for the Suns. While he played predominantly as a ruckman last season, the key to his potential for first round (draft) consideration will come down to how well he can adjust to playing as a key position forward.

To top off a whirlwind year for Crossley, he was included into the Level 2 AFL AIS Academy program after unluckily missing the level 1 intake back in 2015. Crossley was then invited to participate in the “Judd vs O’Loughlin” under 17s future’s game on AFL grand final day, where he held his own for team Judd and managing to slot a few goals rotating between the forward line and ruck. The man mountain will be a central figure in the Gold Coast Suns academy’s bid to take out the ‘Academy Series’.

There are however question marks that surround the Gold Coast giant, particularly his fitness. Compared to the ilk of star AFL ruckman Shane Mumford (GWS), Crossley faces a similar dilemma at this early point of his career to that of what Mumford experienced. Crossley’s 100 kilogram frame may become a problematic issue. There are no doubts however that the Suns Academy would be monitoring his movements and ensuring he is of top physical conditioning.

Name: Harry Simington
Height: 190cm
Weight: 90kg
Club: Labrador/Gold Coast Suns academy

Image Source:

Harry Simington has come from the clouds to announce himself as a one of Queensland’s best prospects in 2017. A product of the Gold Coast Hitherland, Simington is a natural leader who oozes of confidence and charisma. He was vice captain of the Queensland under 16s National side in 2015 and has since developed his game to another level. Playing consistently for the Gold Coast Suns NEAFL side to complement his senior experience for QAFL side Labrador, Simington has been a silent developer, flying relatively under the radar.

Classed as a swingman who can play at both ends of the ground, Simington has a unique ability to spark an attacking 50 to life when playing up the ground. While he can lock down and rebound in defense as per the team’s needs. Simington’s strong aerial ability stands him out as potential leading forward option in 2017. An elite endurance base allows him to run from contest to contest with the greatest of ease, enabling him to help out his midfielders. Simington showed his class for the Queensland under 18 team last season in his sole game for the state, collecting 17 disposals and 6 marks to go with his two goals. Proving he belongs in the top echelon of Queensland prospects, if not national, Simington was also included in the Under 17s all-star “Judd vs O’Loughlin” game on AFL grand final day last season. Making it all the more impressive was the fact that he was one of only 17 chosen who were not part of the AIS AFL academy squad which formed the remaining 34 players selected to participate.

Officially dubbed the Gold Coast Suns academy “king of the gym”, Simington is a tireless workhorse that will keep giving. He was also included in the Gold Coast Suns 2016 academy team of the year alongside the likes of Brayden Crossley, Kwaby Boakye, Jacob Dawson and Brodie Foster. In a testament to how much respect Simington attests up north, he was elected the inaugural Suns captain for the “academy series”. Simington will lead the Gold Coast’s star studded team against the Swans, Giants, and Lions academies as well as against Northern Territory and Tasmania in the revamped Under 18s format.

The one area of Simington’s game we can identify is his lack of ability to read the play. At times Simington looks lost in transition, which may be a factor of trying to do too much on the field. However, with the tools he possesses and the accolades he has achieved to date, it is clear to us why Simington was selected in the U17s all-star game and is so highly rated. The Harry Simington story is a narrative we’ll be reading with a profound interest.

Name: Kwaby Boakye
Height: 186cm
Weight: 80kg
Club: Broadbeach/Gold Coast Suns Academy

Kwaby Boakye (2nd from right) – Image Source:

Kwaby Boakye is a member of the AIS AFL academy program having been included under a special ruling which allows for multicultural players to join the elite program. Boakye is of Ghanaian heritage, with both his parents migrating from Ghana to Melbourne. He left Melbourne as a 15 year old, following his brother to Rockhampton, Queensland where is football journey began.

Boakye is an athletic utility who runs well off half back. Speed is a key element of his game, which is evident in his 2.85 second 20 metre sprint testing. He showed signs of his natural speed as he streamed down the wing and off half back during the all-star game on grand final day. Being so new to football, the skills part of his game will need the most perseverance as he begins a tumultuous year towards November. Renowned for his traditional haircut in the mould of soccer star “Danny Welbeck”, there’s a sense of energy and excitement when Boakye is in the vicinity of the play.

Relatively unknown to this point, Boakye will be looking to assert his dominance in the upcoming academy series where he will look to assert his influence in a bid to secure a position in the Division 1 Allies squad. Having traveled with the AIS Academy squad for their US camp in January, this places Boakye with the perfect platform to launch his 2017 season with a flurry.

Name: Jacob Dawson
Height: 181cm
Weight: 77kg
Club: Burleigh/Gold Coast Suns Academy

Jacob Dawson – Image Source: AFL Queensland

Jacob Dawson is perhaps 2017’s most underrated prospect out of the Gold Coast Suns academy. A mantle which he claims after Suns captain Harry Simington’s meteoric rise, Dawson is all class in his own right. Having played for the Gold Coast Suns NEAFL team for majority of 2016 to coincide with a very strong showing for the Queensland under 18s state team, Dawson could yet become one of the hidden gems of the upcoming draft.

The son of former NBL basketballer Paul Dawson, Jacob has made AFL a sport of his own. An all-round midfielder, Dawson had also performed at the under 16s championships in 2015, finishing in the bests 2 out of 3 games which set him up for what was a very successful bottom age year. He averaged 17 disposals and 5 tackles across the Under 18s Championships as a bottom ager last year, asserting his dominance around the contest. Dawson shines at clearances and makes the most of his possessions which add as a valuable commodity to his slick skills with ball in hand.

Dawson will be competing with and essentially against good friend Brayden Crossley as the Gold Coast Suns academy boys look to take out the inaugural academy series title before striving to secure spots in the limited Allies squad for Division 1 of the Championships. Crossley’s father and Queensland football hall of famer Troy Crossley has been a major factor in Dawson’s football development making for a very interesting subplot. An academic scholar himself, Dawson is also part of the football factory Palm Beach Currumbin’s academic excellence program for gifted students. We will be watching with added interest as the year unfolds for Dawson and his fellow Suns.


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