RICHMOND premiership defender Alex Rance will team up with the Murray Bushrangers to run a testing trial day next week to help select the club’s 2021 under 16-boys squad.
Rance founded The Academy, a year 11 and 12 full time education program centered around Australian rules football that sees students graduate with a Victoria Certificate of Applied Learning and multiple pathway opportunities.
Aspiring Bushrangers players will be tested by The Academy at Cathedral College Wangaratta on Monday.
The program is delivered by GOTAFE in Wangaratta and enrolled students have used Bushrangers facility at Norm Minns Oval for training purposes.
Murray Bushrangers talent lead Mick Wilson said the testing will be equivalent to what is seen at the AFL draft combine.
“It’s also looking at those kids who were born in 2005 and missed the V-Line Cup and the under-16 program held over the last 12 months,” Wilson said.
“We just haven’t seen any of those kids. We’d normally be tracking their development pretty closely having seen them played in two competitions and having invited them into a pre-season program for the Murray Bushrangers over the past 4 months.
“We’re grateful The Academy has offered to test talented players in this region.
“It’s a bit more of a competitive environment and will be good for their individual development to be competing against talented players from the region.
“We’ve sent out around 100 invites to players in southern NSW and the Goulburn Murray and North east regions to test on the day.”
Wilson said a combination of testing and matches will form the basis for selection into the squad.
“We haven’t seen this group play for over a full season,” he said.
“Some kids test really well, but it doesn’t necessarily transition over to games, so we’ll be looking at their testing performance and match performance.”
Rance said the testing will include a range of drills to record individual player data and generate athletic profile report.
“We will be testing the players throughout the day, in a range of specifically designed drills to show a more complete picture of each athlete’s AFL fundamentals,” he said.
“The data that we capture will then form a comprehensive report for the Murray Bushrangers to make an informed choice on their playing list.
“We currently conduct these testing days two times a year for our students at The Academy, as part of the high-performance program.
“From these results we then personalise their strength, conditioning, running tech and skill sessions.”
Rance will be in attendance to offer feedback to the players and has offered to run a question and answer discussion with the group.
He’ll be assisted by Essendon VFL strength and conditioning coach Jake Giannakis and Murray Bushrangers high performance manager Cameron Bishop.
The session is expected to feature around 80 players.
Due to lengthy COVID shutdown, the Bushrangers are yet to receive confirmation from the AFL as to how the underage program will run in 2021, but the club expects to have it’s squad finalised by the end of April.
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