LIAM Youl’s versatility helped him book a place in AFL Country Victoria’s under 19 side.
The former South Warrnambool footballer — now plying his trade in Ballarat — was yesterday named in the Damian Sexton-coached side for its one-off match with the VAFA on Saturday.
Sexton said it was imperative players were adaptable in modern football and that Youl fitted the bill.
Youl, 19, has played three VFL games for North Ballarat Roosters as their 23rd man this year and has performed admirably for his home club Ballarat Swans at either half-back, half-forward or midfield.
The utility played 17 VFL development matches last season before the Roosters cut their second-tier team.
Youl was invited to AFL Victoria training after impressing in the Ballarat league’s interleague loss to Goulburn Valley.
“He’s a strong-bodied fella,” Sexton said.
“He comes with pretty big raps from Ballarat and (North Ballarat City coach) Rob Waters is one of my assistants and couldn’t speak more highly of his performances this year.
“It’s a feather in their cap to be in this squad because it’s a big state Victoria with a lot of footy sides.”
Youl, who is doing a building apprenticeship, went to three training sessions before he was named in AFL Victoria Country’s final 22.
“I am pretty happy about it. It’s a good honour,” Youl said.
Youl said he was thrilled to earn a senior VFL debut after a strong season for the Roosters’ reserves side in 2013.
“I suppose the way it’s panned out hasn’t been too bad,” he said of the Roosters’ development league side’s demise. “We still do all the learning at training during the week and the coach at Ballarat is good at helping out too.”
Warrnambool midfielder Jackson Bell was named as one of three AFL Victoria Country emergencies for the under 19 match.
Sexton said Bell would come into the team if it needed a late small replacement.
“He is unlucky but it’s hard when you have 58 to get into 22,” Sexton said.
“Jackson played Hampden league footy for their rep side and had been a pretty solid contributor in the last month or so for his local club.”
Sexton said AFL Victoria Country was prepared for a tough battle against the VAFA.
“The opposition are good so we are going to have to be on our toes,” he said.
“We have to take control of the game and hopefully make the most of our opportunities early.
“Both sides are equal on ability so it will come down to who takes the most opportunities.”
The under 19 game is at Geelong’s St Albans Oval at 11am on Saturday.
Cobden ruckman-defender Paul Hinkley remains in contention to represent AFL Victoria Country 1 for its clash against a metropolitan-based side at Kardinia Park on Saturday.
Hinkley is in the 26-player squad which will be trimmed on Wednesday night.
AFL Victoria Country will also field a second senior side after the under 19 game.