Ararat footballers Henry Shea and Jordan Cox were selected in the Greater Western Victoria Rebels 28-man squad for its upcoming Victorian Country Under 17 Boys Challenge matches.
The players had chances to train together before the final squad was announced; Shea said he had found these training sessions highly beneficial.
"It's been really good. I've really been able to develop my skills and it's great to be able to play with that level of people," he said.
Both Shea and Cox were selected for the Rebels' under 16 squad in 2020 but were deprived of the chance to play due to COVID-19.
The AFL later increased the age limit for NAB League so that previous under 16 and 18 competitions were changed to under 17 and 19 competitions for 2021 and beyond.
Shea said he is hoping to make a strong impression while with the team.
"The next step is to be asked come up and play for the Under 19s, because there's going to be a few boys to get selected for that," he said.
The team will play its first match against Geelong Falcons at home at CE Brown Reserve, Wendouree, on Thursday, April 1 at 7.30pm.
CE Brown Reserve will also host a second-round game against the Bendigo Pioneers on Thursday, April 8, beginning at 11am.
Greater Western Victoria Rebels head coach David Loader said he was excited by his next crop of stars who will take on country Victoria's best.
"We are really excited about the talented group of boys that have been selected into this year's under 17 boys squad," Loader said.
"We are looking forward to assisting their future development, which begins with the upcoming NAB League Vic Country under 17 Boys Challenge Series.
"The opportunity to also include four under 16 players from our Western Victoria Talent zone is wonderful for these players, and no doubt the experience of playing against the best under 17 boys from across country Victoria will assist in their future development."
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