The region’s junior footy stocks are looking healthy, with eight young players selected as part of the Goulburn Murray Youth Development Academy.
St Mary’s Junior Football Club has proved to be a formidable breeding ground, with six of the eight players coming from the Seymour-based club.
Under-13, under-14 and under-15 squads have been released. It’s the academy’s second year, but it’s the inaugural year for an under-13 age group.
Squad members are in good hands, with some big names selected to lead the groups.
The under-13 squad will be coached by 2016 AFL Victoria state coach of the year Phil Guthrie.
Katandra under-17 premiership coach Ross Opie leads the under-14 panel.
AFL Goulburn Murray football development manager Trevor Mellington believes the appointments are a fantastic outcome for the local up-and-coming footballers.
‘‘To have such a wonderful mix of experience in terms of coaching at a high level, outstanding former players and up-and-coming development coaches is a perfect outcome,’’ he said.
‘‘To have coaches involved that possess experience at TAC Cup along with high level playing exposure means that this experience, knowledge and passion can be shared with fellow coaches and the playing group.’’
Countless hours have been spent scouring the entire Goulburn Murray region to identify the best talent to be invited to this year’s program.
‘‘Performances at all of club, inter league, finals, lightning premierships and other representative competitions were considered to finalise the eventual academy list,’’ Mellington said.
‘‘We all recognise that selection processes are never an exact science. However, our coaches have done an outstanding job at trying to sift through all of the available data and observations to put together lists which they believe best reflect the depth and breadth of talent across the whole of the Goulburn Murray.’’
The program began on Monday with the parent induction program and some testing procedures facilitated by Murray Bushrangers and Bendigo Pioneers’ TAC Cup high performance staff.