THE success of the Gippsland Power football program was franked by the National AFL draft in the past week with three graduates; Zach Reid, Ryan Angwin and Sam Berry, packing their bags for their new AFL clubs.
And according to Gippsland Under 18 TAC Cup Coach and Regional Coaching Director, Rhett McLennan, they’ve been perfectly matched.
“The Giants’ have an excellent development program. It’s the most important thing they’ve been doing since joining the AFL in 2012. So that will suit Ryan right down to the ground.
“I was at the Parrots training when Dyson (Heppell) was down there a few weeks ago to help get the year started and we spoke about Zach, his attitude and his potential.
“He watched and got involved with Zach during those sessions and I’m pretty sure it helped.
“Again, given where Essendon is at, and having Dyson there as well, is the perfect scenario for Zach.
“Same with Sam Berry going to Adelaide. He’s a ready-made, full developed player and going to the bottom club, but one with plenty of upside, I can see Sam playing a role. It wouldn’t surprise to see him in the midfield for them early in the season.
“So, overall, we couldn’t be happier.”
Rhett said the three Power boys were standouts in the group but the thing that shone through for all three was the way they attacked their fitness training and preparation while the COVID-19 lockdown was on.
Both Zach and Ryan are great self-starters and Sam too knows where he is going.”
Rhett noted Zach’s strong sporting pedigree with mother Megan an elite State netballer and Craig a former WAFL player before coming to South Gippsland. The McRae lineage through Megan is especially strong in footy with her dad, Peter, Zach’s grandfather playing 13 games for Footscray in the heady days of the mid-1950s, her uncle Frank 45 games for the Dogs and Colin 18 games for Fitzroy. Colin’s son, Dean McRae, played 141 games for North Melbourne and Sydney.
“He’s got an elite sporting background there,” he said.
Rhett also noted the strong football lines through the Angwin family, as well remarking that Ryan had the dedication to turn that natural ability into an opportunity at the highest level.
“Just to give you an example of his meteoric rise, we didn’t even have Ryan in our best Under 16 team for Gippsland a few years ago, now he’s in the best 18 young AFL talents in Australia.
“He’s tremendously self-motivated, prepared to go to any lengths to improve.”
While the selected trio were standouts for Gippsland Power, Rhett agreed some of the other players in the squad had not been given the chance to shine without footy.
But the extension of the TAC comp to Under 19 following COVID will provide that chance.
He singled out three likely candidates.
Will Papley, brother of Tom, from Bunyip, Keith Robinson from Phillip Island and Mason Hawkings of Sale are three that come immediately to mind, he said.
But it’s not just the Gippsland Power boys that have something to offer through their football linage, both Ryan Angwin and Zach Reid have classy cousins already showing great potential; Tyler Angwin and Grace McRae, both playing in the top Gippsland Power girls team in 2021.
The Power kicked off their season on Friday night, December 11 with Rhatt McLennan’s only concern, holding them back after a season on the side lines.