SOUTH Warrnambool - known for its high-quality junior program - is bullish about the youth at its disposal.
Roosters coach Mat Battistello expects some of its younger cohort to establish spots in the Hampden league club's senior side in 2022.
Teenagers Henry Rhodes, Will White and Luamon Lual are in contention at NAB League club Greater Western Victoria Rebels while Myles McCluggage is being considered as a 19-year-old prospect for the state-wide competition.
Tall duo Jed Henderson and Ollie Bridgewater have impressed Battistello with their development as has backman-wing option Jaidyn Hawkins.
Battistello, who led South Warrnambool to a 10-2 win-loss record last season before COVID-19 lockdowns forced football to the sidelines, said "young personnel coming through and finding consistency at a high level of football" was a focus.
"It is more based around individual decision-making than re-inventing the wheel with the way we want to play," he told The Standard.
"The senior guys have been mentoring some of our juniors coming through.
"They have been paired up for eight weeks and as a club we've been excited about the amount of work they've put in."
South Warrnambool returned to the training track on Monday night as it counts down to its season-opener against Cobden on April 2.
"Jed Henderson won our 2km time trial on Monday night and Jed's played some senior football and we think he and Isaac Thomas can take their games to a new level," Battistello said.
"Ollie Bridgewater got a taste of senior footy last year as an up-and-coming key position player.
"We have seen some growth already in him.
"Jaidyn Hawkins, due to COVID, didn't get as many opportunities as he would've liked but he's worked really hard on his game so we can see some improvement through him as well.
"He's worked hard on his defensive game. In our 12 o'clock side he's played as a half-back ball user.
"We are hopeful Archie Stevens will get on Carlton's VFL list but he'll remain with South as his home club."
Battistello said South Warrnambool, which has locked in practice matches against Colac (away) on March 5 and Lake Wendouree (home) on March 26, wanted to consolidate its game plan.
"We've always been pretty open about wanting to play an attractive brand of footy and I think now Reid Oval is back and we will play finals there you'll find a lot of sides might change certain aspects," he said. "We have always felt our best footy is conducive to good conditions. We are maintaining the stuff we've done in the last couple of years."
Battistello said Melbourne-based Joe Dalton wouldn't play, leaving James Hussey as the Roosters' only traveller.
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