Gippy League introduces All Star coaches

Leader: Warragul's Jed Lamb (pictured right) will take the reins of Team Red on All Star weekend. Photograph supplied




EXCITMENT builds up towards the inaugural Virtue Homes All Stars event, and the Alinta Energy Gippsland League has finalised coaches for the competing teams.

The line-up of coaches is testament to the buy-in for the event, with senior football coaches, A Grade netball coaches and representative coaches all putting their hand up to be part of the day.

The showcase senior football match for the best under 25 aged talent in the league will be headed by two current senior coaches and 2022 team of the year members Jed Lamb and Boyd Bailey.

Lamb will take the reins of Team Red which will feature players from Warragul, Drouin, Leongatha, Wonthaggi and Moe, while current Morwell senior coach Bailey will lead Team Navy, which will feature players from Morwell, Traralgon, Maffra, Sale and Bairnsdale.

There has been a great buy-in from the players so far, with both teams nearing completion from the initial invited players. It’s a huge coup for the event to secure current senior coaches to lead these teams and especially to have these two candidates be top players among the league also adds to the benefits for the players of each team.

The junior match will be a major drawcard of the day as it will feature the best players outside Gippsland Power under 18s listed players that are playing in either the 16s or 18s Gippsland League junior competitions.

Over the past few years, the league has been blessed to have a number of future AFL draftees running around in the fourths/U16s competition and we hope that a few of the players participating in the Virtue Homes All Star game in 2023 will be on AFL clubs’ radars in the future.

The important coaching roles are being taken on by two highly credentialed names among the league in former Melbourne Demon Declan Keilty and Maffra legend Adrian Burgiel.

Both coaches have been part of various junior coaching programs in the region and come with experience of being AFL listed players.

Burgiel is the current reigning fourths premiership coach in the Gippsland League, taking Maffra to the title in 2022.

Keilty will coach Team Red and Burgiel will lead Team Navy for the event.

The top players from this match will be invited to participate in the Alinta Energy Gippsland League Under 18 representative side at the Gippsland Junior Interleague carnival which will be taking place in late June in Morwell where the league will compete against the other leagues based in Gippsland for the junior title.

The netball games will also feature a number of well-credentialed coaches from around the Gippsland League.

The open match will feature 16 of the most talented senior aged players from across the league, and these teams will be formed by an All Star draft where our two coaches will selected players for their teams from the entire league.

Team Red will be led by VNL star and 2016 Drouin premiership coach Stacie Gardiner, while Team Navy will feature the reigning A Grade premiership coach from 2019 and 2022 Rach Paterson from Morwell.

The junior teams will be led by the league’s three representative coaches for Association Championships with VNL and Sale A Grade coach Jo Ballinger leading Team Navy in the 17s, Kate Sperling leading Team Red in the 15s and Sophie Membrey leading Team Navy in the 13s.

Their opposing coaches are Drouin A Grade star and co-coach Ruby Pratt in the 17s, Bairnsdale A Grade coach Brooke Soulsby in the 15s and current Moe A Grade star and coach Ramayer Gourley in the 13s.

The junior netball games will feature the League’s Association Championship squads and also a number of talented players in each age group from each region.

The stars from these three games will go on to represent the league at future tournaments and the 2023 Association Championships.

The 2023 Virtue Homes All Stars is on Saturday, May 20 at Traralgon Recreation Reserve with games starting at 11am.

Adult entry will be $5 and under 18s will be free.

Be sure to mark it on the calendar and get along to watch some of the most talented players in Gippsland showcasing their skills.

Daniel Heathcote is general manager of the Gippsland League.