The region's finest young talent will have the chance to impress recruiters after the AFL announced five regional NAB League teams will return to action next month.
The Greater Western Victoria Rebels will return to training next month, with the boys' under-16 and under-18 sides to be first back on the track.
The modified competition will only consist of the five country-based clubs initially, owing to the COVID-enforced lockdown of metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire.
The competition might give Ararat Rats' youngster Jeziah Woods the chance to shine in his first year with the Rebels.
Woods said he was shattered when everything was put on hold before the season began.
"I was gutted. It was my first-time being picked in any Rebels squad," he said.
"(Hopefully) we start training next week, all going well.
"The first game is tipped to go ahead on August 22, but of course everything is dependent on the pandemic."
Woods, 17, said he had worked hard to maintain his fitness and motivation throughout the break.
"I've been doing the Rebels' running program and keeping active at home," he said.
"It's been a mixture of running and strength training.
"I've been motivated, even though I'm by myself. I have been going to have a kick with some friends to make sure I'm getting out, and I was training with the Rats before training was suspended as well."
Woods said he was looking forward to hopefully testing himself at the elite junior level.
"I'm looking forward to playing football at the highest level I can achieve," he said.
"I'm hoping if I work hard I will be afforded another opportunity next year as a top-aged player.
"It will be a bit disappointing if I don't play this year as there will be no guarantees I will be in the side next year. I'll do everything I can to make sure I'm playing the best football I can be at selection time."
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The Rebels are scheduled to take on the Geelong Falcons at Mars Stadium in Ballarat on Saturday, August 22. The boys' under-16 squad will prepare for two games in school holidays in late September.
The NAB League girls' season is scheduled to restart on Saturday, September 5, with three more matches for each team to complete a six-game season.
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