Vic Metro is preparing to make the trip west to face Western Australia in their first match of the NAB AFL U18 Championships.
Despite the trip being among the longest in the game of Australian football, Vic Metro coach Martin Allison is not allowing it to intimidate his squad.
“We don’t highlight that it is a long trip, we just focus on that it is an interstate trip which is a good learning opportunity for the players to prepare for, particularly those that are going to be on an AFL list,” he said.
“We’ve got a job to do, it’s strictly business, we go over there, we get the job done, and come home. We don’t really focus on the distance or the travel, time in the air, we just have the players focused on the job that needs to be done, how we want to play, and what we want to get out of the game.”
After WA’s dramatic golden point victory against South Australia on Saturday, Allison believes that the hosts have the advantage of experiencing the higher standard of football.
“To have that game already in the bank, whether they won it or lost it, the margin really for me is inconsiderable. To have the experience of actually playing at the higher level is probably a little bit to WA’s advantage than our boys going in fresh.”
In terms of his own players, Allison believes that there are players to keep an eye on, and hopes that there are also a few surprise packets along the way.
“I think Jaidyn Stephenson and Patrick Naish are really quick outside skillful players, the sort of style of footy that we want to play, I like to think that they will be very good players by the end of the carnival.
“Sam Hayes in the ruck I think is going to be quite influential both in the ruck and as a forward, Noah Balta brings a level of athleticism to the key back, and I think he’s going to be quite useful,” Allison said.
“Those players are pretty well-known, I guess the exciting thing from a coaching point of view is watching those players that aren’t as well-known that will make that step up. It can just be from one game to the next, their development will rise quite sharply. Every year there’s three or four of those players that just jump up out of nowhere, where people wouldn’t expect.
“There’s a few of those players that I think we’ve got that are capable of rising to that new level.”
Ahead of the trip, Vic Metro have recently announced that Eastern Ranges prospect Joel Garner will captain the squad.
Allison highlighted Garner’s previous leadership experience as being a key to his selection as captain.
“As far as his leadership goes, he led these guys in the U16s Metro Carnival as well, and he captains Scotch College in the APS and the Ranges, so he’s got a wealth of experience that he brings, and he has the respect of the players,” he said.
“He’s always thinking about team, so those were the things that no doubt the players looked towards, when they voted him as their preferred player and the coaching staff agreed with their assessment.”
The match kicks off at 11:00am (WA time) on Sunday June 18 at Domain Stadium. Follow updates on twitter @TACCup or #NABAFLU18s
|Backs||24. Durak Tucker||27. Sam Taylor||18. Zareth Roe|
|H Backs||17. Jaxon Cahill||29. Aaron Naughton||6. Jarrod Cameron|
|Centres||3. Tom Joyce||22. Kyron Hayden||13. Gordon Narrier|
|H Fwds||21. Matt Young||25. Oscar Allen||8. Sydney Stack|
|Fwds||20. Brandon Starcevich||28. Ben Miller||2. Ian Hill|
|Followers||31. Jonathan Frampton||11. Callum England||9. Jake. Patmore|
|Interchange||19. Christian Ameduri||35. Louis Miller||15. Brayden Ainsworth|
|16. Jordan Boullineau||10. Connor West|
|4. Lachlan Mitchell (Emerg)||26. Chris Scott (Emerg)|
|Backs||3 Ethan Penrith||29 Harrison Nolan||11 Ryley Stoddart|
|Northern Knights||Eastern Ranges||Eastern Ranges|
|H Backs||8 Joel Garner||28 Noah Balta||6 Dylan Landt|
|Eastern Ranges||Calder Cannons||Calder Cannons|
|Centres||14 Jack Petruccelle||17 Adam Cerra||5 Patrick Naish|
|Northern Knights||Eastern Ranges||Northern Knights|
|H Fwds||18 Curtis Taylor||27 Toby Wooller||23 Jaidyn Stephenson|
|Calder Cannons||Oakleigh Chargers||Eastern Ranges|
|Fwds||2 Jack Higgins||30 Hayden McLean||1 Dylan Moore|
|Oakleigh Chargers||Sandringham Dragons||Eastern Ranges|
|Followers||37 Sam Hayes||19 Cameron Rayner||13 Trent Mynott|
|Eastern Ranges||Western Jets||Eastern Ranges|
|Interchange||12 Callum Searle||25 Nicholas Coffield||15 Angus Styles|
|Oakleigh Chargers||Northern Knights||Sandringham Dragons|
|26 Mitchell Podhajski||36 Tristan Xerri|
|Calder Cannons||Western jets|
|Emergencies||16 Thomas North||22 Riley Jones|
|Eastern Ranges||Oakleigh Chargers|