Shepparton News

BOYS’ CHANCE TO CATCH EYE

MURRAY BUSHRANGER­S DUO HEADS TO DRAFT COMBINE IN NEXT STEP TO POSSIBLE AFL CAREERS

- By AYDIN PAYNE

Two Goulburn Valley League products will get the chance to impress AFL recruiters next month.

Shepparton Swans’ Josh Rachele and Mooroopna’s Tom Brown were among 90 exciting prospects invited to the AFL Draft Combine.

They will get the chance to showcase their skills at the combine on September 29-30 at Marvel Stadium.

The players asked to attend the two-day national combine will undergo skill tests, medical screenings and interviews with AFL clubs.

Rachele and Brown have earned praise this year from onlookers, with many draft scouts viewing the Murray Bushranger­s as potential top-20 draft picks.

“It’s absolutely fantastic for both Tom and Josh to be invited along,” Bushranger­s’ talent manager Mick Wilson said.

“They have both been playing some good footy when they have had the chance to play and they’ve really developed strongly this year. I know recruiters are keen to see them at the combine.

“Tom’s form has been excellent and he’s worked extremely hard since coming back from injury. We all know he had a great leap on him, but he’s really impressed with his speed and endurance this year.

“And Josh, being involved in the national academy, meant he was always going to gather interest.”

Brown and Rachele, along with their Bushranger­s teammates, have experience­d a challengin­g season this year due to the coronaviru­s pandemic.

Lockdowns have meant that teenagers have missed another sizeable chunk of their football journey.

“The biggest thing is the lack of consistenc­y and not just in sport, but in everyone’s daily lives,” Wilson said.

“All of the boys have been super resilient and eager to keep playing and that showed at our last training session when we only had two boys unable to make it from 50.”

Wilson said the NAB League had until October 10 to get games into the legs of its bright prospects.

“Fingers crossed we can get one or two more games in. I know the AFL and NAB League have said no more footy after October 10,” he said.

“So hopefully we can get back out there against our fellow country sides and the boys can get some games in.”

Wilson said players in the under16 program could get the chance to pull on the boots again in 2021.

“We are really mindful of the amount of footy that the boys in the under-16s program have missed out on,” he said.

“They have missed out on the V-Line Cup, so we are looking at doing something for them later this year if we can.”

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