Gold Coast Academy product Joel Jeffrey is all set to make his AFL debut when the Suns take on the Melbourne Demons this Saturday.
The exciting 19-year-old was a product of the Northern Territory Football League before getting drafted to the Suns as an Academy Zone pick in 2020.
A versatile forward standing at 192cm, Jeffrey has raised eyebrows with his athletic ability and marking prowess.
After an impressive few games in the VFL, including bags of three and five goals, the Suns today announced the youngster was ready for a spot at AFL level.
“It’s a great moment for Joel and for the club,” Senior Coach Stuart Dew said.
“He obviously had an outstanding game on the weekend, and he’s had multiple shots at goal for a number of weeks now, but just the way he’s been playing has impressed us and he’s put in a fantastic body of work.
“All of us have loved how he’s attacked coming into the full-time environment. It’s not easy to move away from family but from Day 1 he’s really put his head down and done the work.
“He’s always in here working on his craft whether it’s marking, goal kicking or game knowledge, he’s very, very coachable.
“He’s formidable when he’s on the lead and he’s tough to match up on because he’s quite good on the ground as well.”
Jeffrey is now the second Sun from the Northern Territory to debut in 2021, after fellow youngster Malcolm Rosas Jnr got his chance in round 9.
“There’s a pathway – we want to continue to foster that relationship. The lads up there want to be role models for their mates back home,” Dew added.
“It’s a great moment for the NT as well to have some guys debuting [in 2021] from the Territory.”
Last year, Jeffrey became the first footballer to undergo brain scans before starting his AFL career. Despite possessing no prior brain issues, the annual scans are part of an initiative aiming to study the long-term effects of concussions on football players.
Jeffrey will have a tough assignment first up, with Stephen May and Jake Lever looming as likely opponents this week.
The Suns will the Demons at Metricon, 3:10pm on Saturday.