CAM Williams says talent identification exercises put in place to give young players a shot at cracking into Warrnambool's Melbourne Country Week squad weren't in vain.
The prestigious tournament, which was to be held from February 14 to 18, was axed for the second-straight year on Thursday on the back of Victoria's escalating COVID-19 situation.
Warrnambool's leaders - captain Cam Williams and selectors Ben Boyd and Jason Mungean - had used the reborn Hudson Shield and an exhibition under 23 match to get a closer look at talent in the lead-up.
Williams said the success of the talent identification programs indicated there was still a strong appetite for representative cricket.
It was good to get to know them on a more personal level and talk to them about their game, see how their preparation is.- Cam Williams
"In the under 23 game, the lads went really well. Talking to a few of the guys during the game and beforehand it was really good as a lot of them only know me, Munge and Boydy from playing against us," he said.
"It was good to get to know them on a more personal level and talk to them about their game, see how their preparation is.
"We were really fair dinkum about wanting to take a few younger guys and hopefully go on to win it."
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Williams said Warrnambool would carry a "fire in the belly" forward and was determined to honour country week legends Ray Drew and Glenn Kelson, who both passed away in 2021.
"We've lost our two coaches," he said.
"We just want to do it for them and do our best to get back to the provincial grade."
The WDCA won't play on Saturday as several clubs are battling high numbers of positive cases or isolations.
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