The U18 Vic Metro training squad of 47 players has been released.
This squad will be reduced in the lead-up to the NAB AFL U18 Championships, in which Metro will face Western Australia on Sunday June 18 (Domain Stadium), Vic Country on Saturday June 24 (Punt Road Oval), South Australia on Friday June 30 (Etihad Stadium) and the Allies on Wednesday July 5 (Simonds Stadium).
Martin Allison returns to the Vic Metro coaching position, after first leading the Vic Metro Academy for a year in 2013 and having previously taken the Calder Cannons to TAC Cup premierships in 2009 and 2010
When David Flood – named the 2016 U18 All Australian coach for taking Metro to last year’s U18 Championships title – moved on, Allison was called on to assume the head coaching role.
“I see myself as one of the luckiest coaches in Victoria,” Allison said. “I’m given the best players in metropolitan Melbourne, and they listen, they want to learn and they want to get better.
“I compare it sometimes to someone giving me the keys to a brand new Ferrari and they say: ‘Drive this around for a couple of months, go as fast as you like, go as far as you want, push it beyond limits and give the keys back when you’re finished – just don’t break it!’”
Allison said this year’s Metro model isn’t exceptionally tall or fast, but that quick ball movement would be the name of its game. It reflects a subtle change in his approach to coaching since he last held the reins at Metro.
“I’d like to think my style has changed,” Allison said. “I’m watching AFL footy evolve and I think we need to evolve with it, so we want to be a more attacking team.
“We’ll still defend with a lot of vigour but hopefully we’ll play with a lot more flair and willingness to attack than when I last coached Metro. The coaches want to create an environment where players feel they can play with a lot more freedom.”
Martin Allison said players such as Western Jets midfielder/forward Cameron Rayner and Eastern teammates Joel Garner and Adam Cerra were among those to have impressed him early in Metro’s training program.
The Vic Metro Academy is being headed by former 228-game AFL player and dual North Melbourne premiership forward Brett Allison, who this year became AFL Victoria’s Metro Talent Pathways Manager.
And Brett Allison backed his head coach to get the best out of them.
“Marty’s a real people person and a really good communicator,” he said. “He builds good relationships with the players, is able to talk to them on their level and from what I’ve seen they feel really comfortable with him.
“He knows the system pretty well and I thought with myself coming on board and not having a great deal of experience in how it all runs, it was pretty important to have some people involved who have had the experience and know how to run the program.”
Brett Allison said it was important that former Western Bulldogs player Steve Wallis and current Director of Coaching at Eastern Michael Rizio were continuing as Metro assistant coaches in 2017, while Carlton AFL Women’s and Sandringham line coach Jackson Kornberg and Uni Blues (VAFA) senior coach Quinton Gleeson have also joined Metro as assistants.
Brett Allison said his experience of developing players in the AFL system – at Sydney from 2001-09, North Melbourne from 2010-13 and Melbourne from 2014-16 – meant he can prepare Metro players for exactly what they’ll face if they eventually join AFL clubs.
“I think I have a good idea of the challenges players face once they get to an AFL club,” Allison said.
“That’s one of the things I hope to make a difference in – to make it easier for them to transition from the TAC Cup to AFL level. It’s a pretty big step and I think a lot of the players feel they have a good understanding of how different it’ll be, but in reality that’s not the case.”
Working under Paul Roos in a successful era at the Swans, Brett Allison played a part in developing players such as Nick Malceski (ex-Eastern) and Nick Smith (Oakleigh) into AFL premiership players and All Australians.
At Melbourne, he worked with recent high draft picks Christian Petracca (ex-Eastern), Angus Brayshaw (Sandringham) and Sam Weideman (Eastern), who are starting to form the core of one of the AFL’s most promising teams.
This year’s Vic Metro representatives will hope both Allisons can help them get to a similar position in years to come.
* CLICK HERE for the Vic Country squad
See the full U18 Vic Metro training squad below:
|Noah||Balta||Calder Cannons||Essendon Doutta Stars|
|Adam||Cerra||Eastern Ranges||Norwood FC|
|Joel||Garner||Eastern Ranges||Wandin FC|
|Sam||Hayes||Eastern Ranges||Ferntree Gully FC|
|Trent||Mynott||Eastern Ranges||Rowville FC|
|Harrison||Nolan||Eastern Ranges||Mt Evelyn FC|
|Thomas||North||Eastern Ranges||Heathmont FC|
|Jaidyn||Stephenson||Eastern Ranges||Ferntree Gully FC|
|Ryley||Stoddart||Eastern Ranges||Blackburn FC|
|Dylan||Moore||Eastern Ranges||Rowville FC|
|Mark||Baker||Northern Knights||Whitefriars Old Collegians|
|Max||Dreher||Northern Knights||Old Ivanhoe/Ivanhoe Grammar|
|Alex||Federico||Northern Knights||Old Ivanhoe/Marcellin College|
|Joel||Grace||Northern Knights||South Morang|
|Matthew||Harman||Northern Knights||Marcellin Old Collegians|
|Marcus||Lentini||Northern Knights||Diamond Creek|
|Patrick||Naish||Northern Knights||Old Ivanhoe/Ivanhoe Grammar|
|Joel||Naylor||Northern Knights||Whittlesea/Assumption College|
|Ethan||Penrith||Northern Knights||West Preston|
|Matthew||Day||Oakleigh Chargers||Donvale FC|
|Riley||Jones||Oakleigh Chargers||Beverley Hills JFC|
|Hugh||Longbottom||Oakleigh Chargers||Scotch College|
|Ethan||Phillips||Oakleigh Chargers||East Malvern JFC/St Kevin’s College|
|Callum||Searle||Oakleigh Chargers||Waverley Blues FC|
|Toby||Wooller||Oakleigh Chargers||Old Scotch FC|
|Jack||Higgins||Oakleigh Chargers||East Malvern JFC|
|Andrew||Brayshaw||Sandringham Dragons||Old Haileybury/Haileybury|
|Charlie||Constable||Sandringham Dragons||Old Haileybury/Haileybury|
|Max||King||Sandringham Dragons||Old Haileybury/Haileybury|
|Ben||King||Sandringham Dragons||Old Haileybury/Haileybury|
|Quintin||Montanaro||Sandringham Dragons||Old Brighton|
|Isaac||Morrisby||Sandringham Dragons||Caulfield Grammarians/Caulfield Grammar|
|Angus||Styles||Sandringham Dragons||Caulfield Grammar|
|Alfie||Jarnestrom||Sandringham Dragons||Hampton Rovers/Brighton Grammar|
|Lachlan||Fogarty||Western Jets||Spotswood/St Kevin’s|
|Buku||Khamis||Western Jets||St Albans|
|Cameron||Rayner||Western Jets||Essendon Doutta Stars/Penleigh & Essendon Grammar|
|Nicholas||Stuhldreier||Western Jets||Bacchus Marsh/St Patrick’s College|
|Tristan||Xerri||Western Jets||Caroline Springs|