Country boys stake claims

Camperdown's Sam Gordon impressed in his three NAB AFL under-18 games for Vic Country.

COLAC and district NAB AFL Under-18 Championship footballers have returned to their regular competitions four months before the AFL draft.

Camperdown’s Sam Gordon, Cobden’s Jackson Merrett and Colac’s Ryan Monaghan helped Victoria Country to a 3-2 record at the five-week championships.

Vics coach Robert Hyde said each of the trio had a stand-out performance at the tournament, which AFL selectors watch closely.

Gordon and Merrett had more opportunity to show their abilities playing in three games, while illness restricted Monaghan to one game.

“Ryan came to watch one of the games later in the championships and said his body’s now 100 per cent so hopefully he promotes himself well now he’s back with the Geelong Falcons,” Hyde said.

“There’s still plenty of time to impress in front of recruiters, they tend to watch TAC Cup finals pretty closely and look at players who play well under pressure against quality opposition,” he said.

Monaghan and Merrett have since returned to the Falcons, while Gordon has his Associated Public School commitments with Geelong Grammar but is battling an injured ankle.

“He rolled his ankle the night before the last game against Vic Metro, which was probably our worst game,” Hyde said.

He said he expected fellow Falcons involved in the Vic Country squad Devon Smith, Taylor Adams and Jay Lever to feature in the AFL draft come November.

The efforts of Adams, who plays for GFL club St Josephs, earned him a spot in the championships’ All Australian team.

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