GFL Interleague coach Jeremy Dyer has revealed that a couple of big names from country Victoria’s reigning number one league have missed out on selection for the GFL Interleague squad, due to the limited time the coaching staff have had to assess form.
Dyer, who led the GFL to the number one ranking in last year’s WorkSafe AFL Victoria Community Championships, said the early scheduling of the game on May 13 had given the coaches staff little choice.
“It’s tough, this year more than most we really wanted the game later in the year to give the guys the usual 6 or 7 weeks to get their wares, but we’re essentially picking guys off 1 or 2 games,” Dyer said.
Dyer said stars including St Joseph’s and ex-Geelong VFL playmaker Kieren Paliouras, and recently retired Brisbane Lion and Geelong Cat Trent West, weren’t selected because their form in the opening two rounds didn’t warrant selection.
The Interleague coach said it was a combination of form, and the desire to look at some younger talent, that counted against West, who joined Leopold this year. West wasn’t at his best in round 1 during the Grand Final rematch against St Mary’s, as Leopold takes time to adjust to having the big ruckman in the side after so successfully using a smaller forward line in 2016.
“Obviously he’s coming straight out of the AFL system, and we just thought it’s a good opportunity to give other guys a go. We could pick him without watching him, but we’ve got young Jack Berry in there too, who we’re really happy with,” Dyer said.
He said “it’s more of a form thing” with Paliouras, who is a three time member of the Interleague side, and was in last year’s victory over the Eastern Football League.
Another shock was the non-selection of Daniel Lovick, the St Joseph’s defender widely regarded as one of the finest ever to play in the GFL.
Dyer said it was a joint decision to not pull on the blue and white come May 13.
“He’s managing his game this year and he thought, in consultation with us as well, that it’s probably as good of a time as ever to move on and give someone else a go,” the coach said.
“We of course respect his wishes. He owes us, footy Geelong and me absolutely nothing in regards to his commitment.”
Lovick has only missed two Interleague clashes since 2009.
Dyer said he and the coaching staff had extended an invitation to Lovick to be part of the coaching ensemble, and are waiting on confirmation.
However, a portion of the selected squad is made up of youngsters, most of whom are making their first appearances in a senior Interleague squad. Seven players are 20 years old or younger- a deliberate tactic according to Dyer.
“I believe Interleague is a platform to bigger things for the boys if they want it, whether they’ve got aspirations to go higher or not to further their footy path,” he said
Dyer said the crop of youngsters, including former Falcons captain Jack Blood, St Joseph’s livewire Jacko McLaughlin and the VFL development squad listed Jonathon Arcoraci, aren’t just in there to make up the numbers. While development is high on the priority list, some are a chance to be picked in the final side too.
“Some are more of a development thing and others are definitely in the mix come selection time,” Dyer said.
“We want to give them the opportunity to further themselves in the league firstly, and if they do get picked, to put them under the noses of bigger squads and teams down the track.”
The squad will be trimmed down within the next fortnight to the final team, before the May 13 encounter at the MCG.