South Warrnambool product George Stevens is set to make his long-awaited return to the field after his ACL injury in the opening round of the Coates Talent League this weekend.
The AFL Academy member and 2023 top draft prospect will line-up for the Greater Western Victoria Rebels in Saturday's boys round one under 18 clash against the Bendigo Pioneers at MARS stadium after fully recovering from the injury.
The powerfully built midfielder will have plenty of eyes on his progress after sitting out season 2022 but is viewed as a prospect ready made for AFL football.
Exciting Hampden league prospects Mitch Lloyd (Koroit) and Rhys Unwin (Cobden) will make their debuts for the Rebels on the weekend after impressing through the pre-season.
South Warrnambool's Luamon Lual, North Warrnambool Eagles' Harry Keast and Koroit's Connor Byrne have also been named in the Rebels' squad.
There have been some adjustments made to the game style and look forward to watching our 2023 brand this weekend.- David Loader
"Round one is upon us and we are really excited about playing our first game with our new squad," Boys coach David Loader said.
"As always we are looking forward to watching our debutante players in their first game, and our returning players, back after a strong preseason. Competition has been super competitive for positions as we havequite an even squad, there will be some very excited young men this week and some disappointed players that are not in the round one side, it's a terrific position for our club to be in.
"There have been some adjustments made to the game style and look forward to watching our 2023 brand this weekend."
The girls will take part in round two of the Coates Talent League season against the Pioneers after a close loss against the Geelong Falcons last weekend.
South-west footballers Alysha Ralston (Warrnambool), Jessica Rentsch (Hamilton Kangaroos), Lily Jenkins (Warrnambool) and Olivia Wolter (South Warrnambool) have all been named in the strong team.
Girls coach Sally Riley said there was plenty of positives to take into this weekend's clash against the Pioneers.
"Although disappointed about our round one result I was really proud of the girls efforts against Falcons in hot tough conditions. We are going to learn from it and build from here the more the girls play together," she said.
"We are excited to play at Mars in front of a home crowd and hope that the community come out to support the regions young talent with all four teams playing on the day."
The Rebels will also play matches in the under 16 boys and girls competitions against the Pioneers on the day.
"There is going to be some wonderful talent to watch both from a Rebels perspective but also a Bendigo Pioneers one as well," Talent lead Brooke Brown said.
"We always look forward to our first home game of the year, and to have all four teams on the same day is just super exciting for our staff, players and their families. Its going to be wonderful to have the talent pathway games back in Ballarat at Mars Stadium. It is going to be a huge day for our program."
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