Carlton legend Brendan Fevola remembers his Ovens and Murray side "pulling the pants down" of Hampden league players during a country championship showdown seven years ago.
But, despite coaching his team to a record-breaking 125-point bulldozing of Hampden league at Wangaratta in 2014, the former AFL star says the talent pool in the south-west remains strong.
I think after a couple years it's been proven Sam Walsh's the best young player going around.- Brendan Fevola
"They came up to us on a seven-hour bus trip, we pulled their pants down and sent them home," Fevola said.
"I think the boys on the bus cleaned out the bar, so they probably had a good bus trip home."
Making a guest appearance at Buzztech Warrnambool on Tuesday, Fevola said the south-west was a "great breeding ground" for football talent.
The former Carlton star made special mention of former South Warrnambool premiership co-captain, Jarrod Thompson, who played alongside the forward during his stint at Ovens and Murray outfit Yarrawonga.
The former Coleman medallist wouldn't speak on the abilities of South Warrnambool export Jamarra Ugle-Hagan, who previously dated Fevola's 21-year-old stepdaughter, Mia.
But he did hold special praise for another close connection to the south-west in Sam Walsh.
Fevola labelled the Cobden export "a superstar", believing he would play a major role in helping Carlton claim it's 17th premiership flag.
"They did well picking him number one under that bit of controversy of him going number one," Fevola said.
"But I think after a couple years it's been proven he's the best young player going around.
"He's just tough and has put a few more strings in his bow.
"He sees ball, gets ball, he kicks goals now - and good ones - and he just runs all day."
Fevola is tipping something of a Carlton three-peat next season - a nine-year drought breaking return to finals, a Walsh Brownlow medal and back-to-back Coleman medal's for Harry McKay.
"With the midfield we have at the moment under Vossy (Michael Voss) I think he (McKay) can kick more," Fevola said.
"Hopefully he can get two (Coleman's), I have two. It would be nice for the footy club and it's always good when forwards are kicking goals."
McKay was the third-ever Blue to win the prestigious award, joining the company of Fevola and Tom Carroll.
With no player kicking north of 80 goals from Ikon Park since Fevola did in 2009, and 2016 the last time an AFL player reached that feat, the former spearhead is predicting a better return for forwards in the new year.
"I didn't know that stat.. No I did," Fevola said with a laugh.
"Not many have, but I reckon the game is changing a little where they can kick a big score.
"With the interchange going down I think the game opens up a little more for forwards. There's more space, the players are fatigued and the defender can't get back as much.
"The forwards will be licking their lips. Buddy is going to kick his 1000 (goal), so hopefully it's a good year for forwards."
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