OVENS and Murray players dominate this year’s Murray Bushrangers squad with 35 rising stars making the final cut.
In a major surge for the league, Albury had seven youngsters make the 56-member squad with Wodonga Raiders (six), Wangaratta (six), Lavington (four), Wodonga (four), Yarrawonga (four), Wangaratta Rovers (three) and Corowa-Rutherglen (one).
Wodonga Raiders ruckman Floyd Bollinghaus, along with Laitham Vandermeer, Jordan Butts and Tom Boyd, were named as the Bushrangers’ 19-year-old players.
Coach Leon Higgins said he was pleased with the list which was finalised after 27 training sessions, three intra-club and one TAC Cup practice match.
“There is a good balance,” Higgins said.
“It was a very tough selection process and, while there were some disappointed players, each of these players are well prepared for the upcoming season where we will continue to monitor their development.
“We probably lack of a bit of height in the bottom age group so hopefully we will be able to address that in 12 months time.”
The squad has 27 bottom-age players and representatives from 22 clubs.
CDHBU youngster Matt Walker has aligned himself with Albury and has had a strong pre-season while fellow Tiger Jacob Koschitzke, Wodonga’s Hudson Garoni, Benalla’s Mark Marriott and Shepparton United’s Zane Barzen are also set to come under the radar of AFL clubs.
Bollinghaus showed promise last year before rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in April.
The Bushrangers made the finals with a young list last year with Charlie Spargo (Melbourne), Paton (St Kilda), Harry Jones (Hawthorn), Doulton Langlands (St Kilda) drafted.
An initial squad of over 100 was named in October with talent manager Mick Wilson saying youngsters who were overlooked could get another chance.
“The selection process is very subjective and there are many examples of players such as Steve Johnson who missed stages of Murray Bushrangers selection,” Wilson said.
“We encourage those boys to continue their dedication and commitment to playing well for their home club”
The Murray Bushrangers will launch their season against Gippsland Power at Punt Road on March 25.
2018 Murray Bushrangers squad
- L Hamilton, N. Amery, A. Martin, M. Oates (Lavington)
- L. Andrews, H. Garoni, R. Quinn, L. Walker (Wodonga)
- R. Bice, D. Harrington, B. Kelly, J. Koschitzke, W. Mack, A.Shepherd, M. Walker (Albury)
- F. Bollinghaus, D. Clarke, D. Everett, N. Murray, J. Bradshaw, B. St John (Wodonga Raiders)
- K. Williamson, W. Christie, E. Dayman (Wangaratta Rovers)
- J. Crawford, F. Ellis, R. Goodley, M. Holt, T. Matthes, J. Smart (Wangaratta)
- W. Chandler (Corowa-Rutherglen)
- B. Frauenfelder, N. Irvine, F. O'Dwyer, E. Smith (Yarrawonga)
- C. Wilson (Rutherglen)
- K. Davies (Rand-Walbundrie-Walla)
- P. Warner, M. Marriott (Benalla)
- E. Adams, Z. Barzen, J. Chalcraft, K. Clarke (Shepparton United)
- L. Ash, James Butts, Jordan Butts (Shepparton Bears)
- L. Whyte (Shepparton)
- A. Dang, L. Sykes, L. Vandermeer (Mooroopna)
- T. Boyd (Nathalia)
- J. Boyer (Congupna)
- C. Hill (Tatura)
- H. Kaak (Seymour)
- R. Paradzayi (Euroa)
- J. Sanford (Mansfield)