Pathways for youth
WHEN Andrew Hawker became coach of Boort in the North Central league, COVID hindered initial steps to lifting the Pies on the ladder.
But with a group of youngsters proving a tough assignment for other under age teams in the league for several seasons as they progressed through the junior age groups, Hawker has this season put in place pathways for the future.
Andrew Hawker said: “I think it’s super important for us to promote youth whenever it’s possible,” Hawker said.
“The kids need to feel as though there is a pathway to senior football if they are prepared to work.
“Where possible we play them in a block of at least three games and tell them it’s not performance based and they will play the block regardless of how they go.
“I feel it just removes some pressure and allows them to just enjoy the experience.
Hawker blooded Tom Potter in the seniors last season and “was pretty much just let play” while also lining up in the Pies under 17 team that went through the season undefeated and only to be denied the shot at a flag by another COVID lockdown.
“This year I’m giving him some challenges I think he will learn a lot from,” Hawker said.
“One of them is mainly concentrating on where he is and what he’s doing when he doesn’t have the ball.
“Fraz (Holland) needed to be challenged because as such a big kid and it’s hard to learn to use your size when your opponent is much smaller.
“He’s been really good up forward at times and will only improve with exposure.
“And Alex (Cockerell) is very young and underpowered but reads the ball really well. Not unlike Tom in his first year, I’m pretty much just letting him play.
“He will play a lot of senior football in the future,” Hawker predicts of .one of the trio stepping up in 2022.
READ MORE ABOUT SOME OF THE LODDON'S YOUNG FOOTY GUNS IN THE LATEST LODDON HERALD
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