SIX weeks out from the opening round of the Talent League season, the Geelong Falcons Boys will step-up preparations with an internal trial matches this weekend.
North Shore’s Windsor Park will host the Falcons on Sunday, giving coach Paul Corrigan and his assistants an opportunity to cast his eye over those fighting for a spot on the final list of around 50.
There are currently 93 players vying for an opportunity to represent the Falcons in 2023.
“It will give us an idea where they sit a bit more under pressure and in a game scenario,” Corrigan said.
“We’ve got a camp at the start of March that we will probably just take our (final) list to.
“We’ve got a trial match at the end of February, and after that, we’ll reduce the list back to around that 50 mark.”
Among those training in the hopes of earning a 19-year-old spot are returning trio Cooper Hayes (Geelong Amateur), Hamish Pierson (Grovedale), and Archie Sinnot (Newtown & Chilwell).
“We felt with those three, they’ve got good athletic profiling, they had some decent games for us last year, and they were also affected by the crossover with APS (school) football,” Corrigan said.
“It might be nice for them to have a pre-season with us. Pierso and Sinnot are training at Werribee VFL as well.”
Also vying for a 19-year-old spot is talented steeplechaser Ethan Grills.
A national underage champion, he not surprisingly claimed the Falcons’ recent time trial ahead of Colac’s Tobyn Murray and Newtown & Chilwell’s Tom Anastasopoulos.
Grills is no stranger to football, having played juniors with Geelong Amateur.
“He came to us and said he wanted to try footy,” Corrigan said
“He’s still pretty raw in what he does. (But), he’s a good size; he’s put on 10kgs since he stopped his steeplechase training.
“He’s been really good in the way he’s gone about his training and his professionalism and commitment, and he’s shown the way for the boys in the running.
“Something to chase, which has been good.”
Meanwhile, the competition known previously as the NAB League will have a new identity in 2023.
It has been rebranded as the Coates Talent League for both boys and girls.
The girls’ season will start on March 18, with the boys to get underway on March 25.
Both competitions are expected to play around 14 home-and-away games, with the grand finals scheduled for the weekend of September 23/24.