K rock Football

10 Falcons in Country Contention

Brayden Ham gets his kick away under pressure in Geelong Falcons’ loss to Greater Western Victoria in Round 2. (Geelong Falcons Image/Brian Bartlett)

GEELONG Falcons coach Danny O’Keefe says the inclusion of 10 players in Vic Country’s initial squad for this year’s national championships is vindication of the club’s development program.

Co-captains Sam Walsh and Oscar Brownless head the list of Falcons named in the squad.

They’ll be joined by Ned McHenry, Charlie Sprague, versatile swingman Connor Idun, Cooper Stephens, Brayden Ham and big men Dane Hollenkamp, Sam Conway and Blake Schlensog.

The Vic Country squad will gather in Melbourne for a three-day training camp from this Friday and over the weekend.

While the Falcons have started their TAC Cup premiership defence with three consecutive defeats, O’Keefe said it’s a positive that the Falcons are again providing the bulk of Vic Country’s squad.

“It’s a good recognition of where we’re at as a club in terms of our ability and program to develop players,” O’Keefe said.

“A few of those (selected), it’s wonderful that they’ve made the squad but you look back 12 months ago and you wouldn’t think they would be in there/

“So it’s great recognition and promotion for the club – but even more so it’s a wonderful opportunity for these boys.

“There’s been a lot of development in players.”

Vic Country will play Western Australia in Geelong on Friday June 29 while the highlight will be a showdown against Vic Metro at the MCG on June 24 as the curtain raiser to the Collingwood-Carlton game.

Ballarat-based Matthew Battistello will again lead Vic Country this year and O’Keefe said he’s been invited to contribute to his coaching panel when commitments allow.

Twitter: @GreenBradley

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