State Talent Match Attracts AFL Recruiters

Friday, May 17, 2024 - 11:16 AM

WA U18 Coach Marc Webb has embraced the opportunity to stage a trial game against an All-Star State Under 21 side at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday.

Webb has declared the match an important step towards this year’s NAB AFL National Championships.

“It’s very important as we have trained for three weeks and had a camp to help get to know each other and work both as a team and in our positional lines,” Webb said.

“To get our players working together in their roles and to build connection.

“This is the first opportunity to have the group play together.”

Playing against an older group of players is also a challenge for the 18’s side.

“No doubt the opposition have had a year or two of extra development, however it provides a great opportunity for us to play against players who have been performing well at League and Reserve level,” he said.

The match will have extra focus with several recruiting staff from AFL club land expected at the ground to assess the young talent.

“As is always the case, the most important things we focus on are the things as individuals and as a team we can control,” Webb said.

“Our effort and how we work for each other are what we focus on.”

Player availability is not as high as Webb would like for the game, but that should change within a month.

“We have a quite a few on the injury list over the last few weeks, however we will get a bit more availability over the coming weeks,” he said.

“Bo Allan who has being playing League football as a defender, will be playing through the midfield.”

The 21’s side will be coached by Trent Cooper, Manager Female Talent Programs and Coaching Specialist at the West Australian Football Commission.

“This is a great opportunity for the players selected in the 21’s to test their game against the state’s best underage talent,” Cooper said.

“Recruiters will be watching this match closely with an eye to the national draft at the end of the year, but clubs will also be considering players for the upcoming mid-season draft.”

Cooper’s side will have just one training session together, at Subiaco Oval on Thursday.

“We will just be working on connection and learning a very simple game plan that will hopefully give the players the best chance to display their strengths,” he said.

“Most of our team are only 19 years-old, so there won’t be a huge advantage for those players, but we would expect to have a strength and conditioning advantage with the players who have completed two or three WAFL pre-seasons.”

Selection for the 21’s side was the result of WAFL clubs nominating players they believe deserve an opportunity and all 18 AFL clubs put in requests on who they would like to see in the game.

“We then selected those with the most interest and have put together an exciting and well-balanced team,” Cooper said.

“Jack Cleaver was considered unlucky to be overlooked in the draft two years ago and he is playing really consistent league football for East Fremantle.

“Scott Tuia has been toiling away in the Colts and Reserves at Peel for the last four years and has developed into a very good League player this year and I’m looking forward to seeing him play.

“Ashton Ferreira played in the State 18’s last season and he has taken his game to another level on a wing at South Fremantle this year.”

The match begins on Saturday at 10.30am at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.