DEVELOPMENT players have been invited to senior interleague training under a new Ballarat Football League initiative.
For the first time, the Red Onion BFL has formally identified promising youngsters as potential representative players and offering them the chance to train and work with the senior squad.
The BFL has named six development players in the senior training list it unveiled on Tuesday, a week out from the first training session at Eureka Stadium.
All are eligible for senior selection on form, just as any other senior player.
In addition, the BFL has named 16-year-old Sunbury young gun Mitch Conn and is negotiating with his TAC Cup club Calder Cannons on playing availability.
BFL interleague coach Shane Skontra said it was an exciting opportunity for the developing players to learn from some decorated, experienced contenders in the squad.
“Getting them (development players) on board is great exposure for them,” Skontra said.
“They’re still a chance of making the side. Most could play under-18s, but while they’re playing senior footy we wanted to give them the option to work with the senior interleague squad.”
The BFL has shortlisted 48 players from across all 11 clubs to build a team for its clash against Goulburn Valley Football League in Shepparton on May 24.
Reigning premier North Ballarat City has the strongest representation with 10 players in the mix. Redan and Sunbury also feature prominently.
Some seasoned interleague campaigners back in the BFL fold are Redan’s Nathan Blomeley and Ballarat duo Will McGregor and Adam Sewell.
All three have returned from the Central Highlands Football League where Sewell has been interleague captain under Skontra for the past two seasons.
The BFL also has access to four Victorian Football League-listed players in North Ballarat Roosters Chris Giampaolo, Callum Currie (Redan), Lucas Anderson (Lake Wendouree) and Footscray’s Hayden Walters (East Point).
All four players are eligible for interleague because, with neither the Roosters nor Footscray fielding a development team, players return to grassroots clubs when not required at VFL level.
Skontra has worked closely with Roosters’ head coach, Gerard FitzGerald, before making the selections and said FitzGerald had been a terrific support behind the scenes as Skontra prepared his campaign.
BALLARAT: Sam Conroy, Will McGregor, Lachlan Cassidy
DARLEY: Steven Kennedy, Darren Leonard, Shane Page, Rhys Ellis
EAST POINT: Paul Koderenko, Jonathon Lanyon, Hayden Walters, Daniel Tung
LAKE WENDOUREE: Lucas Anderson, Tom Carey, Angus Kirby*
MELTON: Brady Murphy, Matthew Notman, Murphy Watt, Jaryd Ramsay*
MELTON SOUTH: Reece Miles
NORTH BALLARAT CITY: Ryan Hobbs, Simon McCartin, Derick Micallef, Daniel Jones, Jarryd Graham, Jason McNamara, Marcus Darmody, Ryan Luke, Shaun Lyle, Josh Bromeley-Lynch*
REDAN: Brendan Peace,. Ryan Waight, Callum Currie, Brenton Riordan, Nathan Blomeley, Daniel Colbert, Chris Giampaolo, Hayden Riley*
SEBASTOPOL: Michael Powell
SUNBURY: David Kovacevic, Andrew Dahau, Matthew Medcraft, Mitch Conn, Josh Burgess, Adam Short, Dylan Tarczon*