ALBURY’S Kieran Ellis will spend the next month in VFL ranks.
The talented 19-year-old has been rewarded for his strong form with the Murray Bushrangers by picking up matches with Essendon for the next fortnight before crossing to rival club Collingwood.
The soccer convert said he was excited to be given the opportunity to test himself at a higher level against Williamstown at Craigieburn on Saturday.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Ellis said yesterday.
“Hopefully I can get a few kicks.”
Coaches Darren Ogier and Laurie Hammond have been helping Ellis fast-track his development, with talent manager Lee Fraser saying his form had been strong for the Bushrangers and NSW-ACT under-18 team.
“They have worked closely with Kieran on specific aspects of his game, which has seen him perform as a running defender and more recently through the middle of the ground,” Fraser said.
“Kieran has a soccer background and hasn’t played a lot of junior football.
“He has also benefited through the support of the Albury Football Club, who exposed him to Ovens and Murray senior football over the past few years.”
Bushrangers Nick Mellington and Nathan Drummond have also played VFL this year.
Fraser said there was a strong alignment between the TAC Cup and AFL clubs.
“As a club we work closely with AFL clubs regarding our playing list,” Fraser said.
“The Essendon Football Club has expressed interest in Kieran playing in their VFL side and the time is now right for Nathan to step into the VFL with Richmond.”
The Bushrangers regained a position in the top eight by defeating Tasmania by 10 points on Saturday.
Ogier’s line-up take on Calder Cannons, Eastern Ranges and Bendigo Pioneers in the run to the finals.
Bushrangers Nick Coughlan, Brydan Hodgson, Dougal Howard, Nathan Drummond, Caleb Marchbank and Dan Howe have been invited to take part in the AFL draft combine in October.
Corowa-Rutherglen’s Mick Mattingly and Culcairn’s Jeremy Finlayson will also be among the 96 players involved in the four-day testing.