VIC Country honours are within reach for five south-west under 16 footballers.
South Warrnambool’s Kyden Jarvis and Shannon Beks, Koroit’s Jarrod Korewha, Hawks’ Tanna Blackney-Noter and Cobden’s Sean Darcy were named in Vic Country’s initial 50-player squad for the AFL under 16 national championships on the Gold Coast in July.
They were selected after strong performances for North Ballarat Rebels and Geelong Falcons at the AFL Victoria under 16 country championships, which wrapped up on the weekend.
The Vic Country final squad, including five emergencies, will be named on June 9, well ahead of the July 5 to 11 national titles.
Kyden, Shannon, Jarrod and Tanna were among 11 Rebels selected in the trial squad, while Sean was one of nine Falcons chosen.
Rebels under 16 coach Damian Ross said the south-west representatives were talented and dedicated.
He said their preparation and commitment in the pre-season and trial matches culminated in impressive country championship performances.
North Ballarat Rebels won two of their three games, losing their final match to Murray Bushrangers on Friday.
Ross said Shannon, a talented Dennington division one cricketer, was a key position forward, capable of pushing up the ground and pinch-hitting in the ruck.
“What Beksy has shown for us is when he leads up at the footy as a tall forward he has great hands,” Ross said.
“He probably didn’t capitalise on his goalkicking opportunities. I think on Friday he kicked four points in the first quarter, but he was on the verge of tearing the game apart.”
Ross said Tanna and Jarrod were utilities, while Kyden was an accumulative midfielder.
“Tanna and Jarrod are similar. They’re tall and athletic,” he said.
“Tanna has a basketball background and has a tremendous vertical leap.
“He has X-factor written all over him and Jarrod had a consistent carnival.
“He’s a good judge of the footy in the air, a nice mark, good kick and can cover the ground well.”
Kyden missed the Rebels’ final game with a minor arm injury but his first two performances were enough to warrant selection.
“He uses the ball well and makes good decisions,” Ross said.
Sean is a 200-centimetre ruckman who already tips the scales at 92 kilograms.