ON Sunday, AFL Victoria held its now annual VFL Young Guns game – a game designed for players from the VFL, TAC Cup and major leagues of Victoria to come together and show their talents.
The Bendigo Gold had three players with Matt Farrelly, Jake Aarts and Shannen Lange all contributing well.
For these players, it is just another opportunity to pit themselves against the best kids in Victoria, and in front of every AFL club’s recruiters.
I spoke to AFL assistant coaches, recruiting staff and player managers who were all in attendance to have one more look to try to find a player or two with that hidden talent or genuine x-factor.
Our boys certainly did themselves no harm in impressing and we wish them well in their endeavours to reach the AFL.
Individually, Farrelly had a huge impact in the second and third quarters doing his thing – running hard, generating play and defending at all costs.
Aarts played in his typically hard style. At one stage was involved by tackling or being tackled in seven-or-eight repeat stoppages where he was fighting above his weight.
Shannen Lange fought hard for every ball as we became accustomed to.
The Young Guns game can be a rich recruiting ground for VFL clubs.
Daniel Toman, who made the VFL team of the year this season, has previously played in the match.
And South Bendigo's Tom Hams is another who came onto our club's list after playing in last year's game and also impressing at club and VCFL level.
For Bendigo Pioneers Jacob Chisari, Jordan Mangan, Brandon Spurr and Liam Byrne, getting a jumper in this year's Young Guns game is another valuable learning experience.
Following the Young Guns game was the second VFL preliminary final between Box Hill and Werribee, with Box Hill getting over the line and setting up a huge rivalry weekend.
In the VFL Geelong will play Hawthorn’s affiliate Box Hill in the grand final and in the AFL, we have the game of the "Kennett Curse" – Geelong versus Hawthorn.
At VFL level, I expect Geelong to win back-to-back flags and to win comfortably.
Not only do they have an extra day's break, but they have future and current stars all over their line-up.
Trent West is an AFL premiership player and dominant VFL ruckman.
Billy Smedts, Jordan Murdoch and Jordan Schroder are all emerging players comfortable at the top level, and Shane Kersten could debut if Tom Hawkins misses.
If you want to have a look at what Geelong’s side will look like into the future, catch the VFL Grand Final this Sunday.
Unfortunately, this will be Geelong’s only win for the weekend as I can see the Hawks breaking the curse and going into another grand final.
Our boys certainly did themselves no harm in impressing.