TWO south-west Victorian footballers have received recognition for stellar seasons in the VFL.
Cobden product Daniel Watson and South Warrnambool export Liam Youl were among award winners at their clubs’ best-and-fairest functions.
Watson, 19, won Northern Blues’ best clubman award in his first season at the club, having joined from TAC Cup club Geelong Falcons.
He played 19 games in 2013 —the first 18 in the Development league before making his senior debut against Williamstown in round 19.
Watson said he was honoured to win the award.
“I couldn’t ask to come to a better club with a better bunch of blokes,” he said.
“They’ve been really welcoming from the coaches right down to the staff.”
Watson said he hoped to build on his one VFL senior match in 2014.
“I really enjoyed the experience. Hopefully next year I can build on that,” he said.
“For me it’s all about building my craft and trying to contribute week-to-week.”
Northern Development league coach Adrian McBean said Watson had relished playing as the Blues’ tagger..
“His game against Werribee where he shut Jye Bolton, one of the premier defenders in the Development league, completely out of the game, was outstanding.” he said.
“He’s a terrific young kid and I can’t wait to see him develop his footy further.”
Youl, 19, won North Ballarat Roosters’ most improved Development league player.
The former South junior played 17 matches in 2013 after spending two seasons with TAC Cup club North Ballarat Rebels.
Youl said he was not expecting the award but believed his football had come a long way in 12 months.
“I thought I developed a lot more in different areas, I became a bit more versatile,” he said. “I learnt to play more as a backman later in the year.
‘‘And I played as an outside midfielder and a small forward as well.”
Youl has signed with North Ballarat for 2014 although he faces a tough ask to cement his spot in the seniors.
The Roosters have abandoned their Development league side, meaning non-selected players will return to grassroots level on weekends.
“It’ll be pretty tough to get a spot in the ones but I’m hoping I can learn a lot more and develop so I can get a crack at it,” Youl said.
“I’m not sure what I’m going to do for a home club.
‘‘I’m going to have to make up my mind in the next couple of weeks.”
The two achievements come on the back of former Cobden junior Jackson Merrett winning won the Lindsay Griffiths rising star award at AFL club Essendon.
Merrett, 20, received the accolade at the Bombers’ Crichton Medal function on Wednesday night after playing 13 matches in 2013.