THE Wimmera Blue under-17 side was too strong for its Wimmera White counterparts in a exhibition match prior to Saturday’s interleague encounter.
It was a free-flowing game from start to finish but Blue was far more clinical when it moved the ball forward in order to claim as 20.10 (130) to 6.6 (42) win.
It was an open contest right from the first just as coaches Shane Cross and Matt Summers had hoped for. By the end of the first quarter it was Cross’ Blue side that had established a 23-point lead.
His side continued to build on it’s lead throughout the contest before running out 88-point winners but both coaches agreed the scoreboard was not a true indication of the how the match had played out.
“It was a good opportunity for the boys to learn from and to play some representative football,” Summers said.
<p>Matt Summers and Shane Cross offer their thoughts after the under-17 exhibition match. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WimmeraFL?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#WimmeraFL</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/AFL_WM?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AFL_WM</a> <a href="https://t.co/23R6aT5Plh">pic.twitter.com/23R6aT5Plh</a></p>— Stuart McGuckin (@s_mcguckin) <a href="https://twitter.com/s_mcguckin/status/997686883101503489?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 19, 2018</a>
“There was 23 or 24 boys aside, so there was plenty of rotation with them all getting chances in different spots. I think both sides had a really good crack.”
Cross said every player had put their best foot forward to display their full capabilities.
“These are the senior boys at this level and it gives them a clear idea of what they need to do over the next couple of years to take the next step again,” he said. “I think across the board everyone really played well.”
Ararat’s Dylan Woods was awarded the medal for best on ground in the match.
He spent the first half playing for the blue team before switching across to play under Summer’s guidance in the white team.
His play also caught the attention of AFL Wimmera-Mallee development manager Jason Muldoon.
“I probably haven’t seen a lot of Woods,” he said. “With his basketball background you can see that he really works hard. I’m really excited about his work rate and his ability to get through traffic – as I said I haven’t seen much of him because he doesn’t play every week and this has been a great opportunity to have a look at him.”
Stawell’s Aiden Graveson (white) and Ararat’s Baydn Cosgriff (blue) were also among the best on ground.
The height of Dimboola Mitch Jorgensen also excited Muldoon.
“He’s about 196 or 197 centimetres tall and everything we hear from the AFL is saying we need to identify those sorts of players,” he said. “Mitch is a real project – he’s fairly tall but he’s got a lot of education to come and he’s one I was looking forward to see play at his own age level.”
If you grab your moments, you can always influence the game.Jason Muldoon
At the midpoint of the match he said there were players that had not performed as they would have liked but there was always opportunities to impress.
“A game like this was an opportunity for them to realise they can still influence a game,” he said. “If you grab your moments, you can always influence the game.”
Muldoon said the opportunity to have two teams of the league’s best under-17 players face off in a controlled environment was great from his perspective.
“This allowed me to be able to talk to the coaches and say ‘we need to see this player play in this position’,” he said. “This has been a great concept.”