WARRNAMBOOL’S emphasis on junior development is reflected in its TAC Cup numbers this season.
Three of the Blues’ most promising teenagers — Tom Schnerring, Thomas Ludeman and Luke McLeod — will don North Ballarat Rebels’ colours when they run out on an oval they know well against Geelong Falcons tomorrow.
Warrnambool coach Scott Carter will be an interested spectator at Reid Oval.
He’ll be there to watch Schnerring play in defence and Ludeman and McLeod in the midfield, as the Rebels strive to entrench themselves in the TAC Cup top four.
Carter believes the trio’s rise to the elite statewide under 18 competition is testament to Warrnambool’s commitment to its next generation.
He said a fourth Blues player — injured onballer Liam Hoy — was still a chance to sneak a game for North Ballarat this season too.
“At the moment to have three guys in the side is a pretty promising sign for our football club,” Carter said.
“We have a pretty stable and successful senior side at the moment, but we have a lot of depth in our junior side as well as three guys in the Rebels side this weekend and also have our under 18 side undefeated on top of the ladder.
“It’s not a fluke either. The club has put a lot of work into our juniors the past few years and personally I have reaped the benefits of the junior coaches.”
Carter has Warrnambool’s senior side primed for another flag tilt.
The Blues sit atop of the ladder with seven rounds to play and are well placed to make it a hat-trick of premierships.
Schnerring played in Warrnambool’s 2013 grand final team.
He lined up as a tall wingman in the decider against Koroit, fighting it out after breaking his nose early in the game.
“He’s highly regarded at our club — a premiership player at bottom-age under 18s last year which was a terrific effort,” Carter said.
“He stood up when we needed him.”
Ludeman broke into the Blues line-up for six senior games in 2013 and McLeod made his debut earlier this season before he received a call up to the Rebels.
All three Rebel-listed Blues have played for their home club when available this year too.
“Ludeman is really developing as a midfielder with the Rebels and McLeod has a bit of x-factor about him,” Carter said. “He’s bottom-age, a good size, moves well and his skills are good.”
Koroit veteran Chris McLaren trained some of the Rebels’ Hampden league players during this year’s pre-season.
He is proud of what the three Blues have achieved.
“Thomas Ludeman has been going really well the last four or five weeks which is great because he hasn’t made other squads as a youngster,” McLaren said.
“He has got himself a lot fitter this year and for Tom it’s about an opportunity as much as anything.”
Portland’s Rowan Marshall and Tom Templeton and Hamilton Kangaroos’ Eric Guthrie will also represent the Rebels tomorrow.