NORTH Ballarat Rebels have injected height into their latest playing squad.
Rebels talent manager Phil Partington said the roster had a wealth of tall players, in the 195-196 centimetre range, to fill key position posts, including developing bottom-age players.
Partington said the height should be well offset with good, talented outside running players for the 2014 TAC Cup under-18 season.
All 48 selected Rebels will meet for the first time as a playing group tomorrow night to launch the club’s pre-season camp in Ballarat.
“We’ve got a good mix of top and bottom-age players, about a 50-50 split, and a very good mix of football traits and football ability,” Partington said.
“We invite quite a few boys in to trial. They train hard and those unfortunate to not make the squad go back to their local clubs and promote the Rebels with their fitness and skill improvement.”
North Ballarat City’s Sam Bennett, who tested at last year’s AFL Draft Combine, has been invited back to the Rebels with Sam Hooper (North Ballarat City) and Rowan Marshall (Portland) as 19-year-old players.
The Rebels started with more than 140 candidates from Ballarat, Wimmera, South-West and Warrnambool regions. Candidates trained three nights each week under Rebels head coach David Loader and the Rebels development staff. Partington said each candidate was considered to be among the best and most promising talent in their league and needed to show they could step up their skill and intensity at TAC Cup level.
All Rebels will have AFL fitness testing and educational sessions at Maribyrnong College on Saturday.
The Rebels play Geelong Falcons in a practice match next week before a season opener against the Falcons in Camperdown on March 30.
TEAM: Jacob O’Beirne (Horsham Saints), Keegan Mellington (Horsham Saints), Darcy Tucker (Horsham Saints), Jacob Hopper (St Patrick’s College/Leeton-Whitton), James Richards (Horsham Saints), Oscar McDonald (Edenhope-Apsley/North Ballarat City), Joseph Symons (North Ballarat City). Sam Hooper (North Ballarat City), Josh Webster (Kalkee), Sam Bennett (North Ballarat City), Ben Simpson (East Ballarat), Jacob Wheelahan (Bacchus Marsh), Angus Martin (Laharum), Jesse Palmer (Swan Hill/St Patrick’s College), Eric Guthrie (Coleraine), Daniel Butler (Lake Wendouree), Ryan Kemp (Horsham Demons), Keegan Mason (Laharum), Tom Schnerring (Warrnambool), Rowan Marshall (Portland), Jonathon Neville (Lake Wendouree), Tom Templeton (Portland), Xavier Vearing (Ararat), Sam Jasper (Kalkee), William Austin (Daylesford), Jayden Brennan (Koroit), Tom Ludeman (Warrnambool), Tom Taurau (Ararat), Korry Smith (Dartmoor), Sam Dunstan (Ballarat Clarendon College/Donald), Dom Moloney (South Warrnambool), Joel Cowan (Daylesford), Eamonn McCuskey (Lake Wendouree), Matthew Johnstone (North Ballarat City), Sam Glover (North Ballarat City), Ben Lakin (Horsham Demons), Angus Cleary (Casterton), Jordan Taylor (Mount Clear), Sam McLure (Edenhope-Apsley), Luke McLead (Warrnambool), Liam Howarth (South Warrnambool), Alex Ross (Mount Clear), James Gow (Koroit), Billy Lloyd (Horsham Demons), Daniel Souter (Horsham Demons), Nick Weightman (Bungaree), Ben Lusby (Mount Clear), Bailey Veale (Sebastopol).