WARRNAMBOOL midfielder Jackson Bell is being touted as a VFL recruit after an impressive performance in Vic Country’s under 19 triumph against a Victorian Amateur Football Association representative side on Saturday.
Bell was the leading goalkicker in the match, finishing with four majors as Vic Country claimed a 123-point victory at St Albans.
Playing across half-forward and in the midfield, Bell was named in Vic Country’s best, alongside good mate and former South Warrnambool midfielder Liam Youl, who kicked two goals in the 18.19 (137) to 3.3 (21) result.
Vic Country coach Damian Sexton said Bell was the feel-good story of the match after missing selection in the final 22. Named as the first emergency, Bell received a call-up late on Wednesday when a player was ruled out because of VFL commitments.
“He’s come out and kicked four goals and did everything we wanted,” Sexton said.
“He played half-forward in a rotation. He’s a likely young fellow who has a go.
“We are obviously rapt to see a bloke get the call-up after being an emergency come out and be in our best six.
“It’s a great story for a bloke who missed out, come in and not just fill in the numbers, but be able to play so well.”
Sexton said Youl, who is on the North Ballarat Roosters’ VFL list, was a good ball-winner on a wing.
Sexton said Bell had a bright future.
“Out of this game, everyone who played, the doors will open for them because they are all quality young fellows aspiring to be good players.
“VFL clubs will be going ‘we want young blokes who are fair dinkum’.”
Sexton said his 22 players were capable of playing at VFL level.
Bell, 19, said he was “pretty disappointed” to miss out on the original side and felt he had a point to prove when his opportunity came.
“I was trying to play my role,” Bell said. “It was good. It was a good win … didn’t expect to win by that much.”
Bell said he was keen to compete at the highest level he could reach but played down suggestions he might be destined for the VFL.
Bell and Youl were good mates when they both attended Warrnambool’s Brauer College before Youl moved to Ballarat, where he played TAC Cup football with North Ballarat Rebels before being added to the Roosters’ VFL list last season.
While Bell and Youl were celebrating a big win, Cobden’s Paul Hinkley and former Warrnambool rover Kevin Bourke were on the wrong end of a 38-point loss in Vic Country’s senior match against a Metro side at Werribee. It was Hinkley’s first appearance in Vic Country colours.