Young blood rises

Will Reilly has had a superb season for the Pies.
Will Reilly has had a superb season for the Pies.

Wangaratta coach Dean Stone says the decision by his predecessor to blood young talent is paying dividends.

Ten of the Pies in Sunday’s preliminary final against Yarrawonga at North Albury’s Bunton Park are 23 and under.

“‘Cairnsy’, Brendan Cairns, played these guys over the last 18 months and the more games they play and the more they feel comfortable in the group, picking up the pace of the game, the better off they are,” mentor Dean Stone said.

Tagger Will Reilly is one of the players to debut under Cairns.

He started as a midfielder, but moved to the specialist role, tackling some of the league’s biggest names in Daniel Cross and Mark Whiley.

“If you are able to put a couple of experienced guys in the group who can direct and teach along the way, I feel like it’s natural development for a lot of these guys,” Stone said.

Brad Melville is coming off three goals against Albury.