SEVEN Wimemra footballers have been selected in the Western Bulldogs Next Generation Academy squad that will contest the V-Line cup in September.
Ethan Councillor, Lachlan Stewart, Harold Pritchard, Matthew Spalding, Luke Spalding, Sam Chatfield and Gage Wright made the cut along with 43 other players from the Goldfields and Western District regions.
Team manager Jason Muldoon said it was always positive to see so many Wimmera players selected in the squad.
“I expect they will do well to take the next step,” he said.
“The seven boys that got in certainly deserve the opportunity.”
He said outside of the players selected in the final squad there was more talent in the Wimmera he expected to keep an eye on into the future.
“There is another five or six who I expect will be later developers,” he said.
“Some of the taller players certainly take a little bit more time to mature but they all show plenty of potential.”
The 50-player squad was selected after months of training culminated in two weeks of trial matches between under-15 squads from the three regions.
Muldoon said the selection process was thorough and difficult.
“We are bringing together players from across the WB NGA zones, which is a huge area,” he said.
“The selectors have worked hard to ensure the most talented players have the best opportunity to display their skills.”
The V-Line Cup squad will be coached by Shaun O’Loughlin and Ricky Andrews.
O’Loughlin is the current Ballarat Football League interleague coach while Andrews is assistant coach of both the Vic Country under-16 team and the Greater Western Victoria Rebels.
Muldoon said the coaching staff had been impressed with standard of player in the squad.
“This is a direct result of the structures and level of coaching the players are receiving at their local Clubs,” he said.
“This is the final step in the academy for all of these players, these players will transition into the Greater Western Victoria Rebels program later in the year.
“We are hoping these players become TAC Cup players for the Rebels.
“We expect to see gradual development amongst the group over the V-Line Cup, and as they progress through to the Rebels under-16 program.”
The players will continue training at club level before coming together as a closer to September 24 when the cup kicks off in Gippsland.
It is the first time the Western Bulldogs academy will compete in the carnival.
In previous years the three regions have come together to play under the banner of the Greater Western Victoria Rebels.
“We’ve gone through all the same processes it’s just that we now have a different name,” Muldoon said.
“The players can expect to play against some of the best junior players in Country Victoria.
“For the first time the players will have the privilege of wearing the Western Bulldogs jumper.
“The players are respectful of the opportunity they have been given.”
The Wimmera had 11 players selected for last year V-Line cup.
Six of those players were part of this year’s Greater Western Victoria under-16 pathway program.
Flynn Atchison – Sth Warrnambool
Cooper Bath – Lakers
Loris Bayly – Redan
Jett Bermingham- Nth Warrnambool Eagles
Isaac Carey – North
Josh Carlyle-Marks – Mt Clear
Sam Chatfield – Swifts Football Club
Jack Christie – North
Will Clarke – Lakers
Ethan Councillor – Kaniva Leeor United
Brenton Dalton – Port Fairy
Hunter Donald – Buninyong
Zacc Dwyer – Warrnambool
Matthew Fry – Glenthompson Dunkeld FNC
Saul Giblin – Port Fairy
Aaron Glare – Penshurst FNC
Angus Gordon – Camperdown
Lachlan Goss – Cobden FNC
Logan Hayles – Carngham Linton
Marcus Herbert – Sth Warrnambool
Ben Howard – Warrnambool
Toby Jennings – West Portland JFC
Kane Johnstone – Terang Mortlake
Taylor Kennedy – Avoca
Finn Lappin – Redan
Fergus Macdonald – Redan
Fraser Marris – Sth Warrnambool
Clem Nagorcka – Koroit
Riley Nicolson – Sth Warrnambool
Willem O'Sullivan – Sth Warrnambool
Ned Payne – Kolora-Noorat
Declan Phillips – Skipton
Harold Pritchard – Nhill & District Sporting Club
Sid Rajesh – Lakers
Jack Richards – Redan
Mackenzie Royals – Port Fairy
Matt Schaper – Mt Clear
Travis Scott – Hamilton Kangaroos FNC
Trent Severino – Waubra
Harry Sharp – East Point
George Simpson – North
Matthew Spalding – Ararat Football Netball Club
Luke Spalding – Ararat Football Netball Club
Nicholas Stevens – East Point
Lachlan Stewart – Warrack Eagles FNC
Jamarra Ugle-Hagan – Sth Warrnambool
Koby Walter – Hamilton Kangaroos FNC
Harry Waters – Hamilton Kangaroos FNC
Liam Wood – North
Gage Wright – Horsham Saints Football & Netball Club