Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Wells names high-quality Goulburn Valley under-18 interleague squad

This season's Goulburn Valley under-18 interleague squad is jam-packed with players with senior experience.

DAMEN FRANCIS May 8, 2014 3:05am

Benalla’s Zach Pallpratt and Euroa’s Nate Trotter have been selected in the initial Goulburn Valley Football League under-18 interleague squad.

Goulburn Valley Football League under-18 coach Jason Wells has named a dynamic interleague squad loaded with senior experience.

Twenty-one players in the 38-strong squad have played senior football and at least half-a-dozen are regular fixtures for the clubs at that level.

Only Mooroopna’s Dean Smith and Shepparton United’s Beau Caia have been retained from the Goulburn Valley team that beat Geelong by 30 points last year.

Mooroopna is the most represented club, with eight players, ahead of Shepparton Swans, with five.

Unbeaten under-18 ladder-leader Echuca provides four and reigning premier Kyabram three.

Three Murray Bushrangers — Euroa’s Nate Trotter, Mooroopna’s Alex Tattersall and Shepparton’s Julius Battista — and Kyabram’s Bendigo Pioneer Kyle Mueller have been named pending their availability due to TAC Cup duties.

A host of others — including Pioneers Eamonn Ogden and Liam Barrett and fellow Bomber Tom Holman and a quartet of Benalla players for the Bushrangers — have played too many games at TAC Cup level and are therefore ineligible.

Tap specialist Tattersall would be vying for the starting ruck spot, but Shepparton’s Miles Rowlands and Echuca’s Jack Monigatti are also in the mix.

Wells did not rule out more players joining the squad, but said cutting the initial list was enough of a challenge as it was.

‘‘It wasn’t a prerequisite, but we certainly wanted to bring along the ones that have played senior footy,’’ Wells said.

‘‘The coaches have told us who’s had good pre-seasons or are up and going early and we’ll judge them over the next couple of weeks as we have been for the last couple by getting along and watching games.

‘‘We’re probably a bit light on for big talls, but against Ballarat we think we need to be good below our knees as well.

‘‘We juggle players each year with the Bushies, but we have a good relationship with them and we’ll make some phone calls in the next couple of weeks and see who might be available. But it’s a good opportunity for players that haven’t been given the opportunity to play TAC Cup a chance to play at a higher level.’’

Zach Pallpratt, who represented Goulburn Valley in 2012, is having a breakout season in defence for Benalla, Sean Dillon is staking a claim for a place in reigning premier Kyabram’s best 21 and Dean Smith has given Mooroopna fans plenty to smile about in the opening three rounds.

All four Shepparton representatives have debuted this season and have now been rewarded for their form two-fold.

The squad trains on Wednesday at Princess Park, then has its final session at Deakin Reserve on May 21, after which it is trimmed ahead of the AFL Victoria Country Championships under-18 clash with Ballarat Football League on Saturday, May 25.

Benalla: Thomas O’Brien, Zach Pallpratt. Echuca: Clayton Holmes, Jack Monigatti, Mitchell Hore, Richard Tonizzo. Euroa: David Mole, Max Gleeson, Nate Trotter, Robert Staff. Kyabram: Coby O’Neill, Kyle Mueller, Sean Dillon. Mansfield: Lachlan Christopher, Scott Markwick, William Chiller. Mooroopna: Alex Tattersall, Clayton Oliver, Cody Tancred, Dean Smith, Jake Cormick, Liam Betson, Matthew Deane, Rhys McKenzie. Rochester: Daniel Hamilton. Seymour: Kyle Winter-Irving. Shepparton: Jake Allen, Julius Battista, Miles Rowlands, Riley Michel. Shepparton Swans: Aidan Maher, James Bennett, Josh Wild, Toa Tautala, Wiek Dang. Shepparton United: Beau Caia, Matthew Cordy. Tatura: Brayden McGregor.

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