ST PATRICK'S College football director Howard Clark hopes south-west rising stars will get the chance to show their skills to AFL scouts if school football returns this year.
A Ballarat Associated Schools head of sport and head of principles meeting on Thursday will have the final say on whether school football will run in 2020.
Seven south-west players - Patrick Rea and Ben Howard, (Warrnambool), Fraser Marris and Flynn Atchison (South Warrnambool), Toby Jennings (Portland), Ned Payne (Kolora-Noorat) and Archie Pollard (Camperdown) - attend the Ballarat-based collage.
Football for the BAS, which involves Ballarat Grammar, Ballarat High School and St Patrick's, is usually played in term two but was this year cancelled due to the coronavirus.
The powerhouse football school, which has a rich history of creating AFL players, also plays in the Herald Sun Shield, which was also scrapped in 2020.
Clark is hopeful the school's First XVIII, which includes the seven south-west players, will get a chance to play in term three.
He said there was a chance AFL scouts would watch the school's games, particularly given the doubt surrounding the NAB League season.
"It is really important school footy does commence as it gives another opportunity to play and gives boys and girls hope out of this coronavirus period," he said.
"It is also allowing them to showcase their talents in this period.
"I feel sorry for the year 12s who have had a lot of things taken away because of the virus and the opportunity to play school footy can only be a good thing.
"I'd love to see football, in some form, being played and my thinking is we want to give boys and girls some hope and if playing football exposes some of them to recruiting agents then that has to be a good thing too."
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Warrnambool export Patrick Rea is in his final year at St Pat's and is on the Greater Western Victoria Rebels list.
The 18-year-old said school football returning in some form this year "would be amazing".
"Definitely playing for St Pat's is an honour," the year 12 student, who will return to board at the College on Sunday, said.
"It is uncertain at the moment with school footy but it would be good to get back into and play with my school mates and good opportunity to build up normality with the boys and get back into a routine and normal life."
There has been a silver lining in the lockdown for Rea, who injured his knee in his first school game of year against Assumption College.
The winger has put in a solid recovery from a strained meniscofemoral ligament which he suffered when someone landed awkwardly on his knee.
"It was meant to be six to eight weeks on the sidelines but due to having no footy I sort of stretched it out a bit more so I was right to come back when footy resumes," he said. "I am pretty much at 100 per cent and ready to go."
Rea has enjoyed being back home with family and has been training at Reid Oval when he can.
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