Young stars join training squad

ELEVEN of the Gippsland League’s most promising young stars are being given the opportunity to train with the league’s senior interleague squad as part of the 2015 representative program.

Senior interleague coach Steve Hazelman unveiled his 35-man training squad this week, ahead of the Victoria Country Championships showdown with Yarra Valley Mountain District Football League on 23 May.

However, Hazelman and his panel of selectors also identified 11 additional players aged 19-20 years he hoped would take up the opportunity to train with the senior squad.

Bairnsdale’s Nathan Dennison, Drouin’s Luke Duffy, Moe pair Lucas Jenkinson and Bryce Collings, Morwell’s James Jacobson, Sale duo Josh Woods and Jayden Allison, Traralgon’s Michael Jacobson, Wonthaggi Power tall Toma Huther and Warragul’s Nick Mulqueen and Ben McKay have been invited to attend the squad’s first three training sessions.

Mulqueen and McKay have also been included in Kristian Gray’s under-18 interleague squad.

Hazelman said while a lot of effort was going into winning this year’s interleague game, it was important to keep one eye on the future.

“There is some great talent in the league this year and we think this is a fantastic opportunity to give them a taste of senior interleague footy,” Hazelman said.

“These players have all made an outstanding start to the season and have been identified as some of the league’s best young players that over the next few years we hope will be pushing for a spot in the senior side.

“Training alongside the best players in the competition is not only great for their development, but hopefully fuels their passion for interleague footy for years to come.”

The winner of the clash at Drouin Recreation Reserve will move up to eighth on the country championships rankings, while the loser will slip outside the top 10.

The Gippsland League’s final team will be named after training on Tuesday, 19 May.