Maclean Bobcats Luke Hanlon, Matt Farrell and Cullyn Stewart-Butcher at practice before taking part in the summer youth league competition. Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner
Maclean Bobcats Luke Hanlon, Matt Farrell and Cullyn Stewart-Butcher at practice before taking part in the summer youth league competition. Photo Adam Hourigan / The Daily Examiner Adam Hourigan

Bobcats aim to get experience into young players

RESULTS are the least of Rod Menzies' worries.

The veteran Maclean Bobcat is coaching the team in this year's Football Far North Coast Summer Youth League.

The Summer Youth League is a primarily under-20s competition run out of Lismore during what is traditionally an off season, with clubs allowed two over-age players to act as mentors to younger players.

Menzies seamlessly fits into the mentor category during the winter season, acting as a dedicated goal keeping coach for the Bobcats. But he is not donning the gloves for this competition, instead giving two of the club's hottest stars a chance to lead Maclean "cubs".

"Oh no, I'm just coaching," Menzies said.

"Kevin Crofton and Jarred Doyle are our over-age players for the season. Kevin is a pretty skilful midfielder and is pretty good at directing play.

"Jarred actually won the golden boot award at our presentation night last month and will play striker for us."

The Bobcats have one of the youngest teams in the competition.

A host of their players are aged between 14 and 16 years.

"We've taken a young team and don't have a result-orientated goal," Menzies said.

"We want the players to get a little bit better and pick up more experience ahead of next year's winter competition.

"It's all about developing the players so they're better equipped for next year."

Menzies said 20-year-old Sam Finlayson was an easy choice to wear the captain's armband.

He said the midfielder's first grade experience and on-field organisational ability were the best parts of his game.

"Sam's a fit, tall, aggressive player and is one of the oldest players in the group," Menzies said.

"Our youngest player is Cooper Apps-Simmons who only just turned 14.

"He may not get as much game time as everyone else but he'll be much better for the experience."

MACLEAN BOBCATS
v Byron Bay, 7pm tonight at Maclean Showground
1. Ryley Allen (gk), 15. Jack Winkler, 3. Mackenzie Allen, 4. Jayden Grainger, 5. Cullyn Stewart-Butcher, 6. Josh Arndell, 7. Evan Lloyd, 8. Sam Finlayson, 9. Jarred Doyle, 10. Kevin Crofton, 11. Luke Hanlon
SUBSTITUTES:
2. Sam Beaufils, 12. Nathan Shugg, 13. Cooper Apps-Simmons, 14. Harry Menzies, 16. Clancy Haupt, 17. Matt Farrell (gk)



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