THE WORKSAFE AFL Victoria Representative Games wrapped up last Thursday after four days of highly competitive games played in the state’s south.
The under-15 boys’ competition featured four Echuca footballers — Jack Evans, Joe Guiney, Riley Smith and Mitch Wales — while another four were picked in the under-16 girls’ side in Ash Kelly, Sharmaine Reilly, Nikita Meloury and Olivia Taverna.
Cohuna Kangas pair Joshua Treacy and Xavier Mitchell were also picked in the squad, while not far from home, Kyabram’s Ethan Palma Ludeman and Thomas Burnett were picked as well as Rochester’s Nathan Kay, Ben Atley and Adam McPhee.
“Selection was done through regional trials in Mildura where all five of our regions played in a carnival”, said Bendigo Pioneers’ talent manager Steve Sharp.
“From that carnival we had the task of turning a list of 130 players into 50.”
The women’s side was successful in winning both games by a combined margin of 87 points, showing the rest of the state women’s footy in the local region is of a high quality; now shown to be a step above that of other regions.
“The women’s selection process was partially done from identifying talents from other sports”, Sharp explained.
“The next stage for the top-age girls would be the under-18 TAC Cup team, which should be increasing from five games this season (the inaugural season) to nine next year.”
For the top-age boys, Sharp hoped many would be invited to train with the under-16 Pioneers’ squad next season.
“The local boys and girls all did really well and represented their region well too,” he said.
Sharp went on to praise the commitment and dedication shown by everyone involved throughout the four-day event.
With two Pioneers’ boys’ sides, the teams won three of four contests.
Treacy was a standout, particularly in his second game with a five-goal, best on ground performance against North East Border, while Mitchell shone for his side with two goals in each game.
The girls dominated both their games with 38 and 49-point wins, Reilly named in the best both games.