Rebels with a cause as North Ballarat puts aspirants through their paces

POTENTIAL TAC Cup players were put through their paces in Warrnambool yesterday.

North Ballarat Rebels ran their fitness testing for south-west aspirants at Brauer College.

The under 18 and under 16 footballers, who are part of the club’s initial training squad, completed 20-metre sprints and the beep test under the watchful eye of Rebels coach David Loader.

Rebels region manager Phil Partington said the players would also do a 3km time trial before Christmas.

More than 100 players from Warrnambool, Hamilton, Horsham and Ballarat were invited to train with the club. The squad will be trimmed to 45 ahead of the season. 

Partington said players needed to be dedicated to make the cut.

“We’re basically a mini AFL club and we’re preparing boys to be the best they possibly can be and we’ve got to be professional about it and they have to be professional about it. We always say they’re always being judged by someone,” he said.

“If they don’t make the Rebels, hopefully they go back to their local footy club, be a leader, be a role model for other kids trying to get up there.

“I can also guarantee they are going to be a lot fitter when they walk into their club and play a better year of footy for them because of the experience they’ve had with us.”

Partington said there were marks in the sprint, beep test and time trial the club wanted the players to aspire to.

New technology helped the Rebels accurately test players’ speed off the mark in the 20m sprint.

“We have brought some new speed gates along and we have made it a little bit more competitive with a scoreboard as well so their times come up,” Partington said.

“We have a prize for the quickest 20m sprint for under 16s and under 18s and things like that because we want to be competitive because it’s going to be a competitive environment they are going to get into.

“We always say under three seconds is quick and the closer to one second over the first five metres shows you have good closing speed.”

Partington said players under 190cm tall were considered midfielders and expected to do a level 14-plus beep test, while those over 190cm should be able to complete at least a 13.5.

“Michael Close this year, who is a key position player, in pre-season got a 15.6, so that’s really high for endurance. That is for a centre half-back at 196cm or 197cm,” Partington said.

“The majority of our midfielders this year were close to a 14.5 to 15 in beep tests.”

The time trial will be held at the players’ home bases. Partington said different environments resulted in varying results.

“But when we get into our testing in January and bring everyone in for one day around Lake Wendouree, all the boys will be there, all in the same environment, and you know how much work they’ve done or haven’t done,” he said.

“We’d like our midfielders under 11 minutes and again this year we’ve had some boys run some really terrific times, 10.15 seconds or 10.13 seconds, and that’s a really good time.”

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