Batten Wrapped With 16s Development

16s players fly high above their Peel opponents in a pack marck attempt at Rushton Park. 

Subiaco has wrapped up its 16s Development Squad carnival with an impressive five players selected in the West Australian State Academy.

Connor Wilkinson, Cody Grace, Tim Edwards, Josh De Luca, Tom Hooper Subiaco’s members of the squad.

Five selections the most Lions to have made the WA squad in recent years.

Development Squad coach John Batten praising all of the five players for impressive campaigns and earning the revered selection.

While Grace didn’t play in the carnival due to injury, Batten said: “He is a big leading forward an outstanding mark and a hard-worker on the track. He sets a great example, a really hard worker who does everything right.

“Wilkinson is a hard-running midfielder with very good run and carry and has the unique ability to break games open.”

“Edwards is another hard-running midfield who has a massive tank and works very well to bring other players into the game.”

“Tom Hooper is an outstanding leader both his voice and the way he goes about it. Played the majority of his time at centre-half back but really stood out when he went to cente-half forward straightened the team out and took some big grabs.”

However, Batten was most impressed by Josh De Luca, particularly his intent around the contests.

“The best for us was Josh De Luca both offensively and defensively, his attack on the footy and his tackling was a highlight for us,” he said.

While the stand outs for Subiaco have been rewarded with a state birth it was the spread of players exposed to the carnival that most impressed the coaching staff and is likely to benefit the club.

“44 kids played during the carnival, they got exposed to all different facets of footy not just playing. Education on life skills too and what they need to do to improve themselves,” said Batten.

“We took a squad of thirty with extras in the training squad.”

“That will benefit Army (Steven Armstrong) in the future with the colts and hopefully down the track it benefits the club that we’ve had a look at them and they’ve had the exposure early on.

“Half a dozen could go straight in (to the colts program) another three or four towards the end of the year.. Certainly the top six from my perspective could go straight in.

As always a focus on improvement in the Talent Program, Batten saw numerous improvements amongst individuals but most notably in the group as a whole.

“The main improvement was playing to a game-plan and playing to a structure,” he said.

“Obviously they are pretty good footballers individually and are used to dominating their junior clubs but with the 16s they actually had to play a role rather than being the major ball winner. You can’t have 18 major ball winners.”

“They had to play within a team environment rather than within an individual environment.”

“Adam Creeper had a very good carnival and played beyond our expectations and was able to play a number of roles, centre-half forward, ruck, centre-half back.”





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