THE return of the Warrnambool and District Football Netball League’s under 17.5 substitute rule has drawn widespread praise from coaches.
The league’s executive voted to reinstate the rule, which allows a nomiated junior to replace a senior player on the field, this week.
The Standard understands an overwhelming majority of clubs favour the concept.
Kolora-Noorat mentor Danny Finn – who blooded several young players through the rule last season – said the Power would immediately look to use a substitute.
He said in-form youngster Brad Lucas was likely to don the green vest leading into the clash.
“It’s only a positive thing for the young kids, and it will help bridge the gap or the mental barrier that they might have moving into senior footy,” Finn said.
South Rovers mentor Adam Matheson echoed Finn’s beliefs.
He said Rovers were keen to make use of the feature but were still unsure as to who they would use in the role.
“We’ve had a strong under 17.5 side for a number of years now, and we’re pretty confident we have four or five (junior) players capable of playing seniors,” Matheson said.
“It provides an opportunity for the kids to be picked on the bench, and they might have the chance to play a small or bigger role in the game.”
Panmure leader Joe Kenna also threw his support behind the rule.
“It helps the kids in getting comfortable,” he said.