A LATER NAB League start date could benefit south-west clubs hoping to expose their talented teenagers to senior football in 2021.
Ben van de Camp, who oversees GWV Rebels' Hampden training base, said the statewide under 19 boys' competition would start later than usual.
"It will be a couple of games shorter and it will start later," he said.
"They are going to run the NAB League girls' season first and then run the boys after that.
"The bonus for local clubs is they will have these boys for the potentially the first three or four rounds of the season before they start their NAB League commitments.
"It is going to be a great boost for local football."
Van de Camp said the Hampden-based Rebels had benefited from Ballarat-based head coach David Loader, who has returned to the NAB League after five years in the AFL system, visiting pre-season.
"With a new head coach, the program changes what it wants to focus on a little bit," he said.
"David and his assistant coaches have been here (in Warrnambool) for two training sessions already and that's been good, to listen and see what style of play they are going to focus on.
"That is normally reserved for the entire squad (when it's finalised) but this year the entire training squad is hearing that information.
"It's a great opportunity for the boys to get to know David and for David to get to know the boys so when it does come time for list reduction, he's able to make decisions with more confidence."
The NAB League's age groups have changed for 2021 after coronavirus wiped out last season.
There will be an under 17 group, which will play a carnival, and an under 19 home-and-away competition.
Age groups are training together. Four under 16s - George Stevens (South Warrnambool), Harry Keast (North Warrnambool Eagles), Darcy Campbell (Portland) and Deacon White (Hamilton) - have also been invited to train.
"They are all acquitting themselves really well and don't look out of place," van de Camp said.
He said the players' fitness bases were "outstanding".
"Some of their (home) clubs have been training for three or four weeks leading into this," van de Camp said.
"They've come back in good condition in physical condition but also in terms of football skills so that's been pleasing.
"Someone like a Ned Timms (from North Warrnambool Eagles) has come back in really good condition so he is someone I'd highlight as having done a lot of work in the off-season."
The Rebels will train again on Monday night before an extended break.
They will return to the track in mid-February.
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