Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Mennen gets Victoria Country gig

Benalla's David Mennen is over an ankle injury and will pull on the jumper for Victoria Country at the AFL Under-18 National Championships on Sunday.

DAMEN FRANCIS May 30, 2014 3:15am

Benalla’s David Mennen is one of four Murray Bushrangers lining up for Victoria Country at the AFL Under-18 Championships on Sunday.

An untimely ankle injury foiled his first shot, but Benalla winger David Mennen didn’t have to wait long to get a crack at the AFL Under-18 National Championships.

A state representative at under-15, under-16 and future stars under-17 level, Mennen, 17, has long been on the radar.

He was in the team for round one, until an unfortunate training ground accident convinced selectors it was too much of a risk to play him in the championships game and he played in the subsequent trial game instead.

Mennen suitably impressed that day and in last weekend’s TAC Cup win against Sandringham Dragons and was selected for Sunday’s round two championships clash with South Australia at Football Park in Adelaide.

‘‘Someone landed on my leg and I rolled my ankle,’’ Mennen said.

‘‘I was very disappointed at the time, but it was only a week I couldn’t run on it, it’s 100 per cent now.

‘‘I played in the twos game against Vic Metro and I got in the best, which was all right.

‘‘(Wednesday) at training, the coach Mark Ellis rang me up and told me I was playing on the wing on the weekend.

‘‘I was shocked at the time, but excited now. I’m a little bit nervous, but I should be fine.’’

Mennen is one of four Murray Bushrangers named for Victoria Country this weekend.

Rennie’s overage defender Dan Howe and Seymour’s bottom age forward Josh Schache were called up, while Mennen’s Saints clubmate Caleb Marchbank retained his place in the team after a stellar performance in round one.

In-form Mooroopna star Nathan Drummond succumbed to a hamstring injury and will miss up to a month, but could be available in time for the round five rematch against South Australia at Kardinia Park.

Mennen said he spoke to Marchbank about what to expect and was happy with the role Ellis set out for him.

‘‘He (Ellis) told me I might run through the midfield, though the wing and maybe the back line,’’ he said.

‘‘I play all those positions at the Murray Bushrangers, so I’m comfortable with that.’’

Mennen has averaged 16.8 disposals in six TAC Cup games this season.

He possesses pace and highly-developed skills and is working on the defensive side of his game, laying a season-high six tackles in last weekend’s win against the Dragons.

Mennen has been named on a wing, Marchbank in a back pocket, Schache at full-forward and Howe on the interchange bench.

Howe, 18, has spent most of the season patrolling half-back, but impressed in his time on the ball in the trial game and for the Bushrangers last week.

Schache burst onto the scene at last year’s AFL Under-16 Championships and a four-goal performance against Sandringham earned him a place in the state team as a bottom age player.

Standing at 197cm, Schache is expected to spend time in the ruck, as well as holding down a post as a key forward.

Victoria Country won its opening round match against Victoria Metro two weeks ago, while South Australia beat Western Australia by 31 points in its opener last weekend.

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