Hampden’s under 18 interleague side is overflowing with potential superstar senior footballers.
All of the players in the team are capable of playing senior footballUnder 18 coach Ben van de Camp
Eighteen of the 23 players named in Ben van de Camp’s Bottle Greens side set to take the field against the Bendigo on Saturday have played at least one game of Hampden league senior football.
Five players are also on Greater Western Victoria Rebels’ TAC Cup list.
Jalen Porter, Isaac Thomas, Cooper Atchison (South Warrnambool), Josh Dwyer (Port Fairy) Jackson Grundy, Josh Edwards, Bailey Jenkinson, Tom Keast (North Warrnambool), Mitch Bidmade (Warrnambool), Toby Oakley, Zane Barker, Taylor Murrell (Portland), Patrick Smith (Cobden), Rory Gill, Josh Mawson, Scott Nippress (Hamilton), Isaac Wareham (Terang Mortlake) and Todd White (Koroit) have all played at senior level.
Thomas, Wareham, Bidmade, Mawson, along with South Warrnambool’s Emmanuel Ajang, are listed with the Rebels.
Bottle Greens coach van de Camp, who also coaches Koroit’s under 18 side, said all 23 players were talented enough to be playing at the highest level in the league.
“All of the players in the team are capable of playing senior football,” the experienced coach told The Standard at the final training session on Thursday night.
“Some haven’t quite got there yet, and some are them are first-pick players at their clubs.
“We have a bit of contrast in terms of senior experience in the squad.
“It's a good opportunity for them to come and test their ability against kids their own age.
“It is still important they play at the highest level possibly but it’s also important to see them match it against the best in another competition in their age group.”
Van de Camp said he was trying to install a passion for representive football, so that in the future the league would reap the rewards.
“The opportunity these boys will get here might happen again in five or six years’ time when they are senior footballers, so that is certainly a bonus that we hope comes of this,” he said.
Van de Camp said he had picked a side with high skill level and that would utilise speed and quick ball movement against Bendigo on the vast expanses of Reid Oval.