Bottom agers grasp opportunity

Eastern Ranges player Thomas North against Tasmania.  (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media)
Eastern Ranges player Thomas North against Tasmania. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media)

With the Under 18 Championship getting underway last weekend, spots in the TAC Cup teas have come about. This means it is a great opportunity for some of the bottom agers to get some experience playing a TAC Cup before they may get some consistent game time next year.

It was evident to see that during last weeks TAC Cup games there were a few younger players that made their mark after getting their chance to impress.

With a few key players missing for Gippsland who were playing for Vic Country, young Will Stephenson played a great game despite their loss to North Ballarat. Stephenson picked up 36 touches and his pressure around the ball was outstanding laying 17 tackles.

 Will Stephenson tackled against the Bendigo Pioneers. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media/Getty Images)
Will Stephenson tackled against the Bendigo Pioneers. (Photo by Robert Prezioso/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Even younger still, Lachlan Bugeja who is 16, got his second chance at TAC Cup level with the absence of some of Oakleigh’s top agers and impressed as he got into the best after 18 disposals and was good around the footy. Bugeja is one to watch out for in a couple of years time.

Northern’s Nick Coffield was also another who impressed on the weekend. Cottfield is part of the 34-man Vic Metro Under 17 futures squad, which has some of the most outstanding bottom agers. The squad will come together to play the Vic Metro Under 16 team at Oakleigh on Saturday.

Another 17-year-old Thomas North from the Eastern Ranges, has had a great season as a bottom ager getting amongst the best from his team on six occasions from the nine times he has played. North had 27 disposals on the weekend along with 14 tackles in the Ranges’ loss to Sandringham Dragons.

The Vic Metro Under 18 squad who take on Vic Country on Queens Birthday includes a handful of bottom agers, including Eastern Ranges forward Jaidyn Stephenson who impressed as a 16-year-old in last years TAC Cup final, including a three goal haul in the Grand Final.

Last weekend has showed us that there is plenty of youth to be seen at the TAC Cup, despite key players missing with the Under 18 championships. The bottom agers have given us a taste of what to see in 2017 and 2018.

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