Victorian selectors have announced the Futures League Academy – Winter Squad following a successful first year of the program.
Two members of last year’s inaugural squad, Aaron Ayre and Sam Harper, made their first-class debut during the 2015-16 season with an additional five, Jackson Coleman (Victoria), Sam Grimwade (Victoria), Jackson Koop (Victoria), Andrew Perrin (Tasmania) and Cameron Stevenson (Tasmania), recently offered state contracts.
“We were very pleased with the first year of the program and the quality of players that came out of it is a testament to that,” Victorian Chairman of Selectors Andrew Lynch said.
“To have seven players offered contracts this year serves as great motivation for this season’s Academy squad.”
Headlining this year’s Winter Squad is former Commonwealth Bank Bushrangers rookie Meyrick Buchanan.
“Buchanan has come back to cricket after focusing on football for a couple of years in a similar way to Jackson Coleman, who was given a Victorian contract for next season,” Lynch said.
“Buchanan has a lot of ability so we are giving him every chance to train and prepare well for next season and hopefully that translates to strong performances in the Futures League series and possibly higher honours.”
Ten members – Ben Ashkenazi, Liam Banthorpe, Matthew Brown, Matt Doric, David King, Tom Smyth, Eamonn Vines, Buchanan, Dylan Kight and Will Pucovski – of this year’s 19-man squad have played in the Futures League tournament previously.
The squad will train together at the MCG once a week on a Thursday throughout winter under the tutelage of Victoria’s high performance coaches.
Players will complete around 15 sessions which will be a combination of skills, strength and conditioning and performance management sessions.
Players were included based on a combination of strong Premier Cricket performances, identified potential and a balance of various skill-sets.
In addition to those selected, there are also a number of talented Premier cricketers spending the winter playing cricket overseas that were therefore not considered for selection.
The program commences on Thursday 9 June.
2016 Futures League Academy – Winter Squad
Ben Abbatangelo (Northcote)
Ben Ashkenazi (Frankston Peninsula)
Liam Banthorpe (Fitzroy Doncaster)
Mitch Barnewell (Essendon)
Liam Bowe (Essendon)
Matt Brown (Melbourne)
Meyrick Buchanan (Geelong)
Matt Doric (Essendon)
Adam Hutton (Prahran)
Dylan Kight (Footscray Edgewater)
David King (Ringwood)
Nathan Lambden (Casey-South Melbourne)
Will Pucovski (Melbourne)
Dan Sartori (Monash Tigers)
Gehan Seneviratne (Carlton)
Tom Smyth (Carlton)
Eamonn Vines (Geelong)
Matt Wilcox (Prahran)
Hamish Winter-Irving (Footscray Edgewater)