By Marc McGowan
GIPPSLAND Power coach Damian Carroll praised the new 23rd man rule on Sunday that has already given four of his under-18 players the chance to play at senior VFL level this season.
The rule, introduced this year, allows VFL clubs to use an extra man in designated matches who is either a top-age TAC Cup competitor or a 19-year-old first-year VFL player.
Power stars Mitch Dowse, David Donchi, Tim Ryan and Chris Wylie have played one or more games for the Casey Scorpions in 2009.
Former Dandenong Stingrays ruckman Gus Patti, in his first season at the Scorpions, has also benefited from the rule to play VFL senior football twice this year.
Carroll believes the concept is a positive for both parties.
“We’ve found it really good and I spoke to the Scorpions last night (Saturday) and they’ve been rapt with how it’s gone,” he said.
“All of our kids have gone there and contributed and that’s very important that they do perform when they go up.
“(Casey coach) Peter German is great and works with them really well.”
Gippsland’s Victoria Country representatives Ed Carr and Jack Weston are set to take advantage of the rule in the next two weeks.
But Carroll said it was unlikely that his potential top-10 draftees John Butcher, Koby Stevens and Nathan Vardy will follow suit.
“Our nationals guys missed seven weeks with those and AIS commitments, so we don’t really use them,” he said.
“It gives those guys who aren’t in nationals more exposure like Chrissy Wylie, Donchi, Dowse and Ryan.
“They are the kids they (the Scorpions) have a good chance of getting, so why not get them down and get a taste of it and build a bit of a relationship with them now?”
By Marc McGowan