ANGUS Bade knows sticking to a routine is paramount if he wants to become an AFL footballer.
The Warrnambool teenager is the only Hampden league player in Vic Country's 23-player squad for the AFL under 16 national championships.
Bade, at six-foot-three, is a strong chance to line up in a key defensive post when Vic Country starts its campaign against Vic Metro at GMHBA Stadium on Sunday.
But it's Brownlow Medal-winning Fremantle onballer Nat Fyfe he moulds his preparation on.
"Even though he's a midfielder, I think he just puts the work in and has got a pretty good routine for everything," he said.
Bade earned his spot in the Vic Country team via strong performances for Greater Western Victoria Rebels at the under 16 country championships earlier this year.
He said both elite pathway programs had taught him the importance of "routine before a game and after a game".
"Vic Country are really big on that, recovery-wise and being prepared for a game," Bade said.
"I try and eat carbs the night before a game and a banana in the morning.
"(I want to get to) the AFL, that's a massive step up but I've just got to keep putting in the work to get there."
The Rebels identified areas Bade needed to fine-tune and he's busy ticking off a list they gave him.
"We only played three games with the Rebels and they gave us things that we needed to work on and a big one of mine was fitness and it still is," he said.
"I haven't got the biggest tank so I am trying to work on that a little bit."
Bade, who credits Warrnambool under 16 coach Tim Hunt and Emmanuel College teacher Noel Mugavin for kick-starting his journey, moved to Ballarat for school earlier this year. The year 10 student is boarding at Ballarat Grammar.
"I had a brother Connor who went there, he was there from year 11 to year 12, and I am not really following his footsteps it will just benefit my footy and my learning," he said.
"I think all my hard work has paid off (with Vic Country selection), it's a big achievement but there's still hard work to come so I just have to keep working at it."
Bade said he was happy to play anywhere for Vic Country but was establishing himself as a defender.
"They are playing me at half-back. When I was playing for the Rebels I was playing a key full-back role and during the trial games they moved me up the ground which I was sort of hoping for," he said.
"Defence is where I have learned a lot of my footy. I started playing there when I was young and went into the midfield, ruck and a little bit in the forward.
"I like having the whole ground in front of you, you only have to run one way and you see everything."
Bade started his football via South Rovers' Auskick program but switched to Warrnambool, whose under 14s and under 16s play on Sundays, to ensure proud dad Roger, who works Saturdays, could watch him play.
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