WARRNAMBOOL and District under 17½ coach Ben van de Camp hopes his young charges emerge from their interleague weekend as better footballers.
Van de Camp has the reins of a side searching for redemption after losing to Colac and District by 44 points at Reid Oval last year.
The sides meet again today, at 11.45am, this time at Central Reserve in Colac as part of a bumper day of football and netball.
Van de Camp said he wanted the teenage footballers to learn from the experience of being part of a representative squad. “That might not come from my coaching, it might come from playing with the best kids in the league,” he said.
“They might see something about preparation, something about decision-making, something about game-day warm-ups that changes their mindset. In turn, they can take that back to their football club, which benefits them and benefits their clubs.”
Van de Camp said just three of his teenagers were part of the Warrnambool and District-Colac and District under 17½ match last year.
Most represented the league at under 16 level while a handful also have experience in Geelong Falcons and North Ballarat Rebels squads.
“It’s been good. We started off slowly and that was with a lot of unavailability with the boys,” van de Camp said. “But as we’ve gotten closer to this week, the training intensity has lifted, the skill level has lifted and so the quality of training has been really good.
“We’re a similar side to last year in that we’ll rely on quick movement. We’re not an overly tall side and the Central Reserve is a big football oval.
“We don’t want to be too stagnant. And I expect Colac to be a quick-moving and highly-skilled football side. We’ve done a bit of work to combat that.”
Van de Camp predicted the match would be won and lost in the midfield. The belief has prompted him to use players with senior experience in the guts.
South Rovers’ Laughlin Cowell will ruck to onballers Ben Rantall (Old Collegians), Jack Hancocks (South Rovers) and Justin Fedley (Allansford).
“Our captain Justin Fedley and vice-captain Benny Saunders (Timboon Demons) have been instrumental in setting the standard on the track,” van de Camp said.