Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

O'Donnell named coach of star-studded Bushrangers team

Murray Bushrangers’ inaugural premiership coach Kelly O’Donnell would love to take the TAC Cup club’s Platinum Team into battle.

PATRICK O'MEARA July 23, 2012 4:05am

Murray Bushrangers’ inaugural premiership coach Kelly O’Donnell would love to take the TAC Cup club’s Platinum Team into battle.

The Bushrangers yesterday commemorated their 20th year in the pre-eminent under-18 football competition in Australia by naming their best team at a function at Wangaratta’s Gateway Hotel.

O’Donnell, who since leaving the Bushrangers has been an assistant coach at Fremantle and is now a recruiter for Melbourne, was named the Platinum Team’s coach.

The 80-game Demons player coached the Bushrangers between 1994 and 2000, including their breakthrough 1998 premiership.

Broadford’s Barry Hall was named as captain, while Wodonga’s Fraser Gehrig was the only member of the Bushrangers’ inaugural 1993 team named in the team.

Hall, who played with St Kilda, Sydney and the Western Bulldogs, was named at centre-half-forward and Coleman medallist Fraser Gehrig, who played with West Coast and St Kilda, was placed in the goal-square.

Kyabram-raised O’Donnell said being named coach of the talented side was ‘‘very humbling’’.

‘‘It is a very good team, no doubt about that,’’ O’Donnell said.

‘‘The club has had some very good coaches and to be picked is very humbling.’’

He said he would jump at the opportunity to lead the side.

‘‘I wouldn’t mind coaching them right now,’’ he said.

‘‘We would certainly win a few games and any opposition would certainly have a bit of trouble manning up that forward line.’’

Joining twin towers Hall and Gehrig in the attacking six are Wangaratta wizard Steve Johnson, Shepparton small forward Shannon Byrnes, Mansfield number one draft pick Josh Fraser and Brocklesby’s Justin Koschitzke.

O’Donnell said he was proud of his involvement with the Bushrangers.

‘‘It is a really great region,’’ he said.

‘‘It has been great to watch the boys go on and have successful careers.’’

The Platinum Team was selected by the club’s two region managers — John Byrne and Andrew Carson — along with O’Donnell and fellow coaches Xavier Tanner, Peter Dean, Phil Bunn and Darren Ogier.

The selection panel released a squad of 30 earlier this month for the final team of 24 to be selected from.

Craig Ednie, Kayne Pettifer, Chris Hyde, Ben McEvoy, Sam Reid and Jack Ziebell were the players to miss out.

Murray Bushrangers Platinum Team (1993-2012)

B: Ben Matthews (Sydney), Ben Reid (Collingwood), Ryan Houlihan (Carlton)

HB: Joel Smith (St Kilda/ Hawthorn), Jarrad Waite (Carlton), David Mundy (Fremantle)

C: Steele Sidebottom (Collingwood), Brett Deledio (Richmond), Adem Yze (Melbourne)

HF: Steve Johnson (Geelong), Barry Hall (c) (St Kilda/ Sydney/ Western Bulldogs), Shannon Byrnes (Geelong)

F: Josh Fraser (Collingwood/ Gold Coast), Fraser Gehrig (West Coast/ St Kilda), Justin Koschitzke (St Kilda)

Foll: Steven King (Geelong/ St Kilda), Daniel Cross (Western Bulldogs), Tom Rockliff (Brisbane)

Inter: Robert Campbell (Hawthorn), David Teague (North Melbourne/ Carlton), Rory Hilton (Richmond/ Brisbane), Hamish McIntosh (North Melbourne), Alipate Carlisle (Port Adelaide), Jarrod Harbrow (Western Bulldogs/ Gold Coast)

Coach: Kelly O’Donnell

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