Middle of the action for Herbert

NORTH Ballarat Rebels forward Louis Herbert hopes a move to the midfield next season will boost his AFL draft chances.

The South Warrnambool speedster will spend a third season at the TAC Cup club after he was surprisingly overlooked in the 2012 AFL national and rookie drafts.

Herbert, 18, has committed to the Rebels as an over-age player and will move to Ballarat to study exercise sports science at the city’s university. He kicked 39 goals as a medium-sized forward in the TAC Cup last season.

“Last year I was playing predominantly forward and talking to the coaches, they are going to throw me into the midfield,” Herbert said.

“I think it will be good for me.

“It shows recruiters I can win the ball instead of getting it on the lead.”

Herbert said he would work on his aerobic capacity and add bulk to his 72-kilogram frame in the pre-season.

The Rebels have a testing day in Ballarat on January 22 and return to full pre-season training on January 28.

Herbert trained irregularly with the Rebels in his two seasons at the club, instead focusing on his VCE at Emmanuel College.

He said the opportunity to train full-time with the club and have access to its staff and resources would fast-track his football development.

“It’s my best way to get noticed,” he said.

“I spoke to my parents about it and dad really wanted me to play VFL because he thought bigger bodies would help develop me against men.

“But you get noticed more playing TAC Cup.”

Herbert said he’d put the disappointment of the AFL drafts behind him and pointed to the success of 19-year-olds in the TAC Cup system.

Horsham midfielder Jake Lloyd joined Sydney Swans via the rookie draft after playing for the Rebels as an over-age player. 

“It’s very important because most 19-year-olds have had a couple of years in the system and know how it works and they help the younger ones,” Herbert said. North Ballarat Rebels region manager Phil Partington said TAC Cup clubs could have up to five over-age players on their lists, with three allowed to play in any one match.

Partington said Herbert had potential and another year in the system would enhance his AFL chances.

“We know he can play forward. We’ll give him an opportunity to develop other parts of his game,” he said.

“We hope to see him as an inside and outside midfielder. We sat down with Louie and gave him a lot of feedback from AFL clubs.”

justine.mc@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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