FIFTEEN south-west footballers are striving for NAB League opportunities after making Greater Western Victoria Rebels' 33-player under 19 squad.
The Rebels' 2021 list is almost half the size of previous seasons after a competition overhaul, meaning spots were at a premium.
Thirteen Hampden league prospects were selected including North Warrnambool Eagles' Ned Timms, who made the cut for the first time.
His Eagles' teammates Ben Kellett and Jett Bermingham will also be given a chance to impress AFL recruiters when the season kicks off in April.
Other Hampden league players to make the squad were South Warrnambool quartet Marcus Hebert, Archie Stevens, Fraser Marris and Myles McCluggage - brother of Brisbane's Hugh - and Angus Bade (Warrnambool), Jacob Hill (Hamilton Kangaroos), Jamieson Ballantyne (Portland), Hamish Sinnott (Camperdown) and Koroit duo Mac Petersen and Thomas Baulch.
Kolora-Noorat's Sam Kenna is Warrnambool and District league's only representative and Penshurst's Josh Rentsch will fly the flag for Mininera and District league.
GWV Rebels coach David Loader, who worked at AFL club North Melbourne, said it was an "extensive process".
"It started from day one, from the first training session we've got them in we've taken data points on how they train, how coachable are they, have they crossed the Ts and dotted the Is, how fit are they, what role can they play?," he told The Standard.
"All this has gone into a melting pot and then we were lucky enough to play two trial games on top of that, so we had a really good handle within the selection panel on the squad."
Loader said the south-west region's ability to produce NAB League players was "absolutely phenomenal".
"It is a credit to the Warrnambool district and Warrnambool football leagues and certainly the junior coaches," he said.
The Rebels' boys season starts on Thursday, April 1 against traditional rivals Geelong Falcons at Lake Wendouree.
The under 19 team will play at 5pm with the under 17 team to follow at 7.30pm.
Loader, who is also coaching the Rebels' girls side, said the competition timelines were different to past seasons too.
"How it works this year is the girls play their round five next weekend and then play to round eight and the girls stop and have a three-week break," he said.
"When the girls have a three-week break they're going to play the girls' nationals and when that three-week break is on the boys are going to play rounds one, two and three.
"Then the boys are going to have a month's break where they will go back to local football.
"The girls are going to come back and play round nine and then three weeks of finals.
"When that is finished the boys will come back the weekend after and start round four and play through to round 15 and then have a three-week finals series."
The boys' national championships will take place after the season.
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