Coach wants senior exposure for young guns in the AFLX comp
AUSSIE RULES: Several BITS Saints players will have their first competitive hit-out in Rockhampton.
While it will not be in the traditional full-scale version of Aussie Rules, it will be for the Saints players' benefits to get run in their legs and ball touch.
BITS will play in the 2019 AFLX Capricorn Challenge tomorrow and meet its preliminary final opponents Glenmore Bulls in game one at 11am.
Saints coach Jake Mostert said a number of juniors would be introduced into the seven-a-side format to see how they'll handle senior heat.
"We're looking at building our middle and giving our youth some experience and so we've probably got half and half," he said.
"Half from our senior list and probably half from our top-age 17s who are looking to get that bit of extra experience and who expressed interest to play either reserves or senior football this year."
With the departure of experienced pair Steven Pugh (Mackay) and Jacob Mills (travelling), Mostert said he welcomed this format of football because it would be a good gauge to see how his players handled the heat in a confined space.
"Obviously there are not as many bodies on the park, but the physical side of things will be good for them to get a little bit of experience," Mostert said.
While the AFLX format has drawn some criticism - or at least with the AFL as evidenced with a sudden withdrawal of stars such as Port Adelaide's Robbie Gray and Hawthorn's Chad Wingard - Mostert said to have full-scale format trial matches would have been a challenge here.
"Look, I think that clubs are struggling with numbers and work and guys playing other sports and other commitments, that this early before the season, you are going to struggle to get a huge amount of numbers," Mostert said.
The coach is a supporter of the 'fast-food version' of AFL because of its physical sense in a confined space, a format makes players work hard aerobically.
Mostert said the AFLX format would reveal players who had a sustained work-rate and those who fell away.
"Being smart about where you kick the footy and like kicking to advantage is a big one and it's just going to be really important," he said.
"If you can get numbers to the contest, where we set a bit of a mantra this year to have three to the contest at a minimum, that's going to be a little bit harder in AFLX.
"So let's have two to a contest, let's work together, let's work in pairs and let's not try to do it on our own."
Ryan Shanks, who has played a few A-grade games last season, will headline a list of young guns over the weekend.
"Caleb Lusty hasn't played before and is a bit of a jet, but still working on his skills...," Mostert said.
"Grady Howard is always keen for a run and to give him more experience and we've also got Freddie Stebbings and it's his first year out of under-17s."
11am: Glenmore v BITS / 10.30am: BITS v Glenmore
1pm: Panthers v BITS / 12.30pm: BITS v Brothers
3pm: Brothers v BITS / 2.30pm: BITS v Panthers
5pm: Yeppoon v BITS / 3.30pm: Yeppoon v BITS
6pm: 2nd v 3rd / 5.30pm: 2nd v 3rd
7pm: Grand Final 1st v winner of 2nd v 3rd / 6.30pm: 1st v winner of 2nd v 3rd