Teenage footballers earn state selection

From left, Cooper Stephens, Adam Garner and Jarrod Walters are in an initial Vic Country under-16 football squad. Ethan Floyd and Cassidy Parish are also in the squad.

From left, Cooper Stephens, Adam Garner and Jarrod Walters are in an initial Vic Country under-16 football squad. Ethan Floyd and Cassidy Parish are also in the squad.

FIVE Colac district footballers are part of a large representation of Geelong Falcons in an initial Vic Country under-16 squad.

Colac Tigers trio Adam Garner, Jarrod Walters and Cooper Stephens, Birregurra’s Ethan Floyd and Winchelsea’s Cassidy Parish are among 15 Falcons who will vie for state honours at the national championships in July.

Geelong under-16 coach Cameron Loftus said the Colac district contingent had impressed selectors during the recent Victorian under-16 country championships.

Loftus said each player had come from a good footballing background.

“There’s some talent amongst them,” he said.

“Our program was 13 weeks to get them all up and to the see the development of them, Adam Garner and Cassidy Parish are very good players, but to see the progress Cooper Stephens, Jarrod Walters and Ethan Floyd have made, it’s been substantial.

“They came out of the program probably having a better understanding decision-making wise and they all really impressed in the games.

“And there’s a really nice family connection, Adam Garner’s related to Paddy McCartin, Jarrod Walters is Luke Hodge’s cousin, Ethan’s brother Campbell is playing in the 18s and so is Cassidy’s brother Darcy, and even Cooper’s dad was a good footballer with Colac.”

The Vic Country squad will train under former Sydney and Hawthorn AFL footballer Leon Higgins, who is coaching the under-16 outfit this year.

Loftus said Falcons officials were rapt with their player representation after having the most footballers selected from six teams in the Vic Country zone.

“It’s an initial squad, basically there are about 50 at the moment, and there are 15 from the Falcons that made it,” he said.

“It’s a pretty big effort and it really shows the talent we have in the region.

“They’ll start training down in Melbourne, so they’ll have three or four weekends down there where they’ll play practice games as well, and then they’ll select the final squad of 25 players from there.”

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