Four Tasmanians have been given the opportunity to impress AFL clubs later this year after being nominated to attend the State and Rookie Me Combines.

Rhyan Mansell, Matt McGuinness and Lachie Gadomski have all been given the opportunity after impressing as part of the Tassie Mariners’ victorious Division Two under-18 Championships campaign as well as the Allies squad that competed at the Division One Championships.

North Launceston’s Mansell has been invited to attend the State Combine after catching the attention of recruiters, while Matt McGuinness (Lauderdale) and Lachie Gadomski (Tigers FC) will attend the Rookie Me Combine. In another good piece of news for Tasmanian talent, 22-year-old Jay Lockhart will also attend the Rookie Me Combine following a strong season for the Casey Demons in the VFL.

Matt McGuinness in action. IC: Solstice Digital

Lockhart, a two-time TSL premiership player with North Launceston, made the move to the VFL this season and has played every game, frequently being named in the Demons’ best players. Lockhart represented the TSL against the NEAFL in last year’s representative match at Blundstone Arena, winning the Lefroy Medal as Tasmania’s best player.

AFL Tasmania Southern Talent Manager Mathew Armstrong is pleased that invited group will have the chance to impress, with their physical capabilities set to be tested and assessed.

“It is a fantastic result for these guys and just rewards for great years, they have worked incredibly hard and deserve the opportunity to show what they can offer AFL clubs.”

These invitations follow the recent announcement of four Tasmanians – Nicholas Baker (Lauderdale), Chayce Jones (Launceston), Tarryn Thomas (North Launceston) and Fraser Turner (Clarence) – being invited to attend October’s National Draft Combine.

Armstrong acknowledges that six combine invitations reflects a bright year for the Academy Program but also admits he believes some Tasmanian talent were unlucky to be overlooked, an issue he thinks the TAC Cup team will help address from next year.

“It is great recognition for the boys but also for the work we are doing in our talent program, with six across the different combines.

“We have a talented and hard working group and we probably anticipated greater representation at the combines but for me it just emphasises the importance of providing more chances for Tasmanian talent to impress. I think our Tasmania TAC Cup team will address that from next year as it will provide our players with more high standard games and more exposure to AFL clubs and recruiters than ever before,” he said. 

The AFL Draft Combine will be held at Etihad Stadium from October 2-5, with the State Combine to take place  on Saturday October 6. The Rookie Me Combine will be held at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre on Saturday October 6.