Monday 14 February 2011

The introduction of four Scorpions sides into the Club Aid Trophy pre-season 20/20 competition will have multiple benefits for the State’s best young talent – and NEAFL clubs in the process.

Almost 100 teenagers have been involved in a summer program in south-east Queensland and regional areas as part of the pathway to Australia Post Queensland Scorpions Under 18 selection.

Every one of them involved in the program will play for one of the two Brisbane and two Gold Coast Scorpions sides that will contest the Club Aid Trophy against the likes of Morningside, Labrador, Southport and Mt Gravatt.

The teams will play two 40-minute games on both 12 and 19 March as part of the 20/20 pre-season competition.

The matches will act as selection trials, with the best 50 players allocated to continue – 25 each – at the Brisbane and Gold Coast Academies.

“The Club Aid Trophy matches have given the players a real focus to aim at as a reward for all of their hard work over summer,” said state talent manager Bob Batty.

“These games are an important step for them because there is a lot riding on how they play.”

The players involved in the program in south-east Queensland have been training since November and have been sent back to their NEAFL clubs once a week in February to forge some bonds for later in the season.

“The boys have had mentors at each club – players of the calibre of Kent Abey (Morningside) and Jason Howard (Labrador) have been involved,” Batty said.

“The Club Aid Trophy games will give an opportunity to the NEAFL coaches to have a look at how these young blokes handle playing against quality, older players.”

The 19 regionally-based players in the program face a selection trial on Sunday 19 February in Townsville to earn a spot in the Gold Coast Scorpions sides in the Club Aid Trophy.

Batty is confident the four young Scorpions teams will acquit themselves well against tough opposition.

“You would think most of the senior clubs would be looking at a lot of their own younger kids in the first week, but I’m sure they will up the ante in the second round,” he said.

“It will be a great opportunity for these young men to put their hands up against quality footballers. Imagine the experience of a young centre-half-back having to line-up on someone like Tim Notting.”

The Club Aid Trophy draw will be released shortly.

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