WITH the national AFL Draft Combine just four days away, North Ballarat Rebels’ finest under-18 footballers are putting the finishing touches on a gruelling post-season campaign that could see them become AFL footballers this November.
Following a disappointing season in the TAC Cup, in which the club won just two games, the Rebels players have been training four days a week over the past five weeks in a bid to achieve the best possible mental and physical preparation for what lies ahead of them.
“The idea is to try and familiarise the players with what they will be undergoing in the combine so they don’t get overawed by the occasion,” North Ballarat Rebels talent manager Phil Partington said.
“We’re putting them through a range of specific testing techniques that they will encounter at the combine so they know exactly what they will be in for next week.”
The range of tests conducted are almost limitless, ranging from strength and conditioning and skills through to the more challenging psychological analysis and even mock interviews.
“We have quite a few introverted characters at the club who don’t like talking about themselves too much, so it’s a bit challenging trying to get them to sell themselves,” Partington said.
Rebel back flanker and draft hopeful Sam Bennett has appreciated the extra preparation but has also found the different level of testing to be a huge challenge.
“I’ve probably gotten more and more confident since the start of training and I know there are other clubs don’t do this for the players, so we’re all really grateful,” he said.
The draft combine will run at Etihad Stadium from October 1-4, while the national draft will take place on November 21.