Several exciting youngsters from Cobram and surrounding towns have been busy pitting their football skills against some of Victoria’s most talented junior footballers, representing the Murray Bushrangers’ under-16 development side.
Having started its pre-season in November, the group played a couple of internal trial games as well as practice games against other sides before kicking off the season proper with a win against the Gippsland Power.
The group played three official matches which acted as curtain-raisers to the Murray Bushrangers’ TAC Cup games.
The program allowed the players to hone their craft and sharpen their skills in an elite environment.
Here, under-16 coach Justin McMahon runs the rule over each player from the area.
Fergus Pinnuck (Strathmerton)
Fergus mainly operates on the wing but is also comfortable rolling through half-forward and half-back.
His brother Lewis came through our system as well, so we already know a bit about the family. He is quite similar to Lewis at the same age I think. They have similar sort of traits. He is really competitive with a good skill level.
Lewis is going quite well at Werribee at the moment, so we are hoping Ferg can continue on with his development and take a similar path.
Izac Artavilla (Cobram)
Izac has primarily been a midfielder for us but has also gone back at times as well. Again, he is a very competitive player and his biggest strength is probably his running power. He has been one of our main onballers throughout the campaign.
He has quite a strong work ethic and has been pretty consistent in his performances across all the games.
Josh O’Dwyer (Numurkah)
Josh played senior footy last year, I believe, and has come into our program mainly operating as a small defender.
Again, like a lot of the other players, we have trialled him in the middle of the ground — I think he ran a 15 beep test as a 15-year-old, so his running ability is elite.
He is also very competitive, kicks the ball very well and is a good little all-round package. I guess what he brings to the table lends itself to him being an onballer at a high level.
Harry Beasley (Cobram)
Harry is one of our co-captains, which was a bit of a reward for his pre-season and the way he conducted himself in the practice games.
We see him as a natural leader for us. He has played mostly down back in his junior career and he is very comfortable as a defender.
We have experimented with him up forward and in the midfield at different stages as well. He is 188cm at this stage and if he does not grow any more, for example, he could potentially end up as a big-sized midfielder as he has great running power to go with his natural ability.
We are working with him on those positional switches and it is not something he has done a lot of at this stage, but we need to keep one eye on the future with all these players. We have to look at where they might end up and not get too caught up in where they are right now in terms of their skill sets.
In saying that, I would not be surprised at all if these boys ended up playing senior footy for Cobram throughout the year.
Luca Allen (Cobram)
Luca has been really impressive for us. He has played mainly across half-back and a little bit on ball.
We are really happy with the way he kicks the ball. He is probably one of our better kicks at this stage. His leadership has also been quite good amongst the group.