Young players on a learning curve

By BRAD GREENSHIELDS

WHILE none of the local contingent involved in the Northern Heat team look likely to be selected in the Under 18 state team, the coach of the Northern Heat team Adam Dugan believes that none of the players who've missed out on selection will walk away empty handed.

"Hopefully all the players have gained an appreciation of the effort and intensity that's required if they're going to make the step up to representative level," he said.

"They've also got the chance to improve their footy by learning about things like correct nutrition, recovery and game styles that they'll be able to take back their club footy which should help them improve."

After an impressive opening match against the Southern Sydney team the Pigeons on Monday night, things went downhill fast for the Heat in the second match.

Losing two players who have received scholarships from AFL clubs through injury, the polish that Craig Bird (Sydney) and Scott Reed (Collingwood) offered was sorely missed as was the hardness and running power of Gosford midfielder Josh Keen.

Severely depleted, the local team that covers the area from the Central Coast up to the Queensland border were found wanting against the Starz from Northern Sydney.

A lack of accountability for their opponents saw the Starz midfield run riot and out a 55 point thumping to the home team.

With the disappointment of the first loss still fresh in their minds the Heat put up a more spirited performance in the final match against the Cats which covered the ACT and South Coast.

Despite again falling on the wrong side of the result, it was this performance that led Dugan to believe that the youngsters had learned from their experience.

"I think we were a little bit flat for that second game and a few bad habits that came from club matches crept into our play," Dugan said.

"We knuckled down a bit for the final game and we tried to play a more aggressive run-on style of game which is the more attractive type of footy that we were trying to play."

Zone trial results

Monday ? Northern Heat 10.7 (67) d Pigeons 7.6 (48)

Tuesday ? Starz 13.12 (90) d Northern Heat 5.5 (35)

Wednesday ? Cats 11.7 (73) d Northern Heat 3.1 (19)



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