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McHenry earns Academy spot

Ned McHenry is part of the Level 2 intake of the AFL Academy (krockfootball.com.au Image/Marcel Berens)

GEELONG Falcons premiership stars Sam Walsh and Ned McHenry are quickly jumping to the top of next year’s draft crop after both were named in the next Level 2 intake of the AFL Academy.

The pair are among 32 talented youngsters named in the squad that will spend the next 12 months under the guidance of Academy Head Coach Luke Power and his assistants Brad Johnson, Brent Harvey and Peter Sumich.

Walsh was in the Academy this season with McHenry, who was one of the Falcons’ most improved players in 2017, among seven new scholars.

The squad will head to Darwin next month for a training camp and then travel to the world-renowned IMG Academy in Florida early in the new year for a high performance training camp.

Falcons regional manager Michael Turner rates Walsh as one of the top draft contenders next year.

“Sam is one of most prepared kids I’ve come across,” Turner told krockfootball.com.au

Turner revealed it was ex-Geelong wingman and Geelong College coach David Wojcinski who alerted the Falcons about McHenry virtually 12 months ago to the day at their first recruiting meeting.

The Barwon Heads product played 11 TAC Cup matches in between school commitments.

“He (Wojcinski) really rated him so we trialled Ned,” Turner said.

“He was in our top four players in the Grand Final. He was really motoring that night and played a great game along with Sam Walsh.

“He’s not too dissimilar to Sam. He’s got an unbelievable ability to sustain high-intensity running, which is what you want at AFL clubs.”

This is the 21st intake of the AFL Academy. Since established, 81 per cent of players have been drafted and produced 43 All-Australians, 17 No.1 National Draft picks, seven AFL Rising Star winners, four Brownlow and four Norm Smith medallists.

Twitter: @GreenBradley