The AFL season is so close you can just about taste it. All 20 teams and their players are gearing up for another huge season with trial matches being played over the weekend along with the inaugural AFLX on Friday night. With that in the rear vision now, we look towards Thursday as the JLT Community Series takes centre stage. Across 2 weeks, every team will play 2 matches in the hope to build towards a strong start to the 2019 regular season.

This competition is the perfect opportunity for young players to push for a spot in their side’s Round 1 fixtures. It also gives the chance for newly recruited players to prove their worth to new coaches and teammates.

Let’s jump in and take a look some exciting players to keep an eye out for in the JLT Pre-Season Series:

Charlie Curnow – Carlton

vs Essendon 28/02     vs Collingwood 11/03

Curnow was one of the few bright sparks in a dismal Carlton season last year and offered plenty of signs pointing towards an exciting future at the Blues. The 21-year-old is expected to come on leaps and bounds this season and will be an integral part of rebuilding Carlton’s finals hopes in the coming years. In a recent trial against Hawthorn, the young-gun was seen in and around the centre bounce adding more intrigue that we might see him playing a lot more on the ball this year. Keep an eye out for Curnow in the JLT opener on Thursday night against Essendon.

Quinton Narkle – Geelong

vs West Coast 01/03   vs Essendon 07/03

Another top young prospect who made his debut last season, Narkle is quicky becoming a fan favourite at the Cats. His blistering speed and high pressure in defence make him a crucial part of the Geelong midifeld. He only played six games last year but you would expect him to definitely add to that this season. With arguably two of the greatest midfielders to ever play lining up alongside him, Narkle will have plenty of exposure and advice to further develop himself into one of the competition’s best in years to come.

Jamie Elliot – Collingwood

vs Fremantle 04/03   vs Carlton 11/03

Elliot has been injury-plagued for much of his short career but recent signs are that he is back to peak fitness. We’ve seen glimpses of his talent and after not playing at all in 2018, The young midfielder looked good in a recent trial match against the Demons. If Elliot can remain fit, I am backing him to be a big part of the Pies charge to go one better this year.

Connor Menadue – Richmond

vs Melbourne 03/03   vs Hawthorn 09/03

The 22-year-old is another who has been plagued with injuries early in his career having only managed 33 games in four years at the top level. Menadue showed good signs towards the end of last season in a team which boasts one of the stronger starting line-ups in the league. Reece Conca has left, opening up an opportunity for the youngster to slot into the starting side.  A solid performance in the JLT Series may be all he needs to lock down his spot for Round 1.

Aiden Bonar – GWS

vs Sydney 02/03   vs Adelaide 08/03

Bonar is a first round draft pick and has plenty of Giants fans and teammates excited. At only 19 years old there is still so much time to develop for the young Giant. After playing 4 games last season expect to see a lot more of him in and around the Giants squad this year. The JLT series is a perfect platform for the versatile midfielder to prove his worth and make an impact within the side.