District young guns make Cats’ squad

Apollo Bay rising star Joel Cooper earned a spot in the Geelong Cats under-15 academy, despite being a bottom-age player in 2019.

Colac Imperials can stake claim to the biggest intake of footballers in the Geelong Cats Academy’s inaugural under-16 girls’ squad.

Officials released the girls’ under-16 squad this week, while also announcing the boys’ under-15 team, which boasts seven players from the Colac region.

Colac Tigers trio Rani Jamieson, Max Buchanan and Will Parkhouse earned a spot in the under-15 squad, while four Colac district footballers also feature.

Apollo Bay duo Joel Cooper and Lincoln Birley, Birregurra’s Patrick Wheadon and Irrewarra’s Beeac’s Austin Harwood are set to represent the Cats at the September’s V-Line Cup.

Football officials re-branded the region’s V-Line Cup squads from the Geelong Falcons to the Geelong Cats Academy in 2019, with the AFL club having more input in the junior pathway program.

Mia and Gabbi Featherston, Jess Woods, Charlotte Hardy, Cody Willis, Keeley Hardingham and Annabelle Arnold helped Imperials boast seven footballers in the under-16 girls’ squad.

The Imps are the Colac district’s sole club in an AFL Barwon junior girls’ competition.

Colac district under-15 interleague coach Paul Liistro said it was pleasing four of the league’s junior male footballers also featured in the Cats’ under-15 squad.

Irrewarra-Beeac century goalkicker Josh Sanders was a notable absentee from the under-15 boys’ side.

But Liistro, who was part of the selection process, said spots were limited in 2019 which made Cooper’s selection even more impressive given the Apollo Bay young gun was bottom age.

See today’s Colac Herald for more.

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